UNH selected to test Super Wi-Fi for low-cost rural broadband access

Gigabit Libraries Network recently selected UNH as one of six sites to test the technology sometimes called “Super Wi-Fi,” which makes use of “TV white space”, i.e. gaps between licensed television stations in the broadcast spectrum.

New Hampshire's Concord Monitor is reporting that the University of New Hampshire (UNH) "next month will begin testing an experimental way to provide wireless high-speed internet access across several miles via TV-style signals, a technology officials hope will offer an inexpensive solution to the problem of scarce broadband access in rural areas."

According to the report, the Gigabit Libraries Network recently selected UNH as one of six sites to test the technology sometimes called “Super Wi-Fi,” which makes use of “TV white space,” gaps between licensed television stations in the broadcast spectrum. The New Hampshire experiment will reportedly involve two transmitters: one at UNH in Durham connected to four nearby libraries, and a second in the state's North Country. The trial should begin in mid-October and run through the end of the year, said the report.

Related: Report: Wireless infrastructure investment to generate $1.2 trillion in economic growth, create 1.2 million jobs

The project comes as federal and state officials wrestle with the problem of helping remote areas connect to the Internet at high speeds, without having to deploy high-cost fiber-optic cables. TV white space technology is relatively new, notes the Monitor's Ben Leubsdorf, author of the report, with the FCC granting permission to use the unused television spectrum in 2010; the technology is now being tested at sites around the world, including by technology giants such as Google and Microsoft.

Super Wi-Fi doesn’t require a line-of-sight connection, unlike other methods of wireless Internet service such as microwave links. And it’s relatively cheap – which presumably, would eliminate the need for local governments to issue bonds to pay for a project, notes Leubsdorf. “This is a perfect technology to be used for that last rural mile,” said Carole Monroe, executive director of New Hampshire FastRoads, a Keene, NH-based program that builds fiber-optic cables in underserved areas.

A current state law could accommodate financing for such projects, explains the report.

Full story:UNH to test ‘Super Wi-Fi’ technology that could expand broadband access in rural areas (concordmonitor.com)

More in Wireless/5G