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Google brings ubiquitous 'white space' broadband one step closer

Google brings ubiquitous 'white space' broadband one step closer

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So-called "white space" frequencies have considerable benefits when compared to traditional Wi-Fi signals, and now Google has created an API to make the process of utilizing them easier. Companies using the Spectrum Database API will be able to search for frequencies unoccupied by TV or radio signals in specific areas of the United States, and register equipment that uses those frequencies to broadcast wireless internet.

Signals sent over frequencies abandoned or unused by TV or radio can travel further than current Wi-Fi signals, and are less affected by obstacles. The far-reaching signals are also ideal for bringing moderately speedy internet to rural areas for whom large-scale fiber infrastructure is too expensive and difficult to install.

Google has pushed TV white space as a cost-effective way to bring broadband to rural areas

Google has championed unlicensed TV white space (TVWS) over the last few years. The FCC approved the use of Google's TVWS database in June, after tests began in March. In April, ISP launched the US' first consumer white space broadband service in California's Gold Country area, providing 2-4Mbps speeds for users.

One company is already using Google's database to provide broadband services. Adaptrum uses the database in conjunction with its own equipment to provide public Wi-Fi to West Virginia University. The development of white space networks has been slow — the first test of a white space broadband network was in 2009, and an early network was created for a North Carolina park in early 2012 — but Google's new API aims to rapidly increase the growth and reach of the technology.