People have been eying underused TV white spaces for high-speed internet service since the FCC voted to open up the spectrum to unlicensed wireless devices in 2008, and now it’s finally happening. Following white space experiments in Virginia, North Carolina, and elsewhere, the first commercial white space network is finally being deployed in the rural Gold Country region of central and northeastern California, reports Engadget.

Per-user speeds will be around 2-4 Mbps

Low-frequency TV white space bands propagate farther than alternatives like Wi-Fi, and are better at passing through dense foliage and over hills, making them ideal for rural areas like Gold Country. The region’s white space service is the result of a partnership between and northern California ISP Cal.Net and network equipment provider Carlson, which says its new RuralConnect wireless access point (above) can provide speeds of up to 16 Mbps. However Cal.Net points out that the figure is the total throughput for the base station, and that actual per-user speeds for its $54.95 monthly service will be around to 2–4Mbps. The network is still in the testing phase — service is currently only available in the Swansboro area — but Cal.Net hopes to reach full deployment sometime in May.