A new partnership plans to bring wireless broadband to rural colleges over the unused area between registered television stations, which are now known as “white space” It’s called AIR.U or Advanced Internet Regions.
According to Michael Calabrese of the New America Foundation, University communities will be able to significantly expand the coverage and capacity of high-speed wireless communities, both on- and off-campus.
This plan was led by former FCC official Blair Levin to bring high-speed broadband to research universities. Levin’s project, Gig.U, had attracted the interest of rural colleges that didn’t qualify to join.
Some rural communities are seen as ideal for the use of white spaces for wireless broadband Internet connection, often called as “Super Wi-Fi” because they have fewer licensed TV stations. This means there is more vacant spectrum in the white spaces. In addition, the low frequency range of this technology means that a single base station can cover a radius of about 6 miles with high-speed router.
The Federal Communications Commission authorized the use of unlicensed white spaces for broadband services and other applications, back in September 2010. The services, however, have been slow to develop in part due to the lag in designing and building network tools designed to operate this spectrum.