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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 15, 2014

FCC Clears Carlson Wireless for TV White Space Service

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Rural broadband just got a big boost: The FCC has certified Carlson Wireless’ (News - Alert) RuralConnect TV white space (TVWS) radio system for use with the Spectrum Bridge TV white spaces database. And so, RuralConnect is authorized to transmit in the UHF TV band (470-698 MHz).

TV white spaces, the airwaves once occupied by UHF television signals, are widely seen as an affordable way to provide high-speed Internet to remote areas. The same propagation characteristics that once carried UHF television broadcasts around trees, buildings and hills and into America's living rooms lend themselves well to the delivery of non-line-of-site wireless broadband, making connectivity possible in places previously difficult or prohibitively expensive to reach.

These unused frequencies between licensed television broadcasters were opened by the FCC (News - Alert) in 2010 for unlicensed public use. The decision was accompanied by a spectrum-sharing database scheme meant to track white space usage to minimize interference with both adjacent local TV feeds and other unlicensed uses, such as connectivity inside arenas and other public venues.

 RuralConnect utilizes cognitive radio technology in collaboration with spectrum-sharing databases to provide high-speed connectivity worldwide; RuralConnect’s approval by the FCC to be added to the database essentially means that it has a green light to start delivering commercial service domestically for the first time.

"FCC certification enables us to offer this technology domestically," said Jim Carlson (News - Alert), CEO at Carlson. "And because of the FCC's stature worldwide, it also gives a boost to global efforts to adopt TVWS technology," Carlson continued. "Providing connectivity to underserved populations worldwide is more than an interest to us. It's our corporate mission."

RuralConnect has operated for the last three years in more than 58 trial deployments both domestically and internationally, including a trial with Google (News - Alert) and others in 2013 with schools in Cape Town, South Africa. These trials have played a pivotal role in demonstrating to both regulators and potential users the ability of TVWS technology to provide high-speed data across rugged terrain, the company said.

"Carlson's RuralConnect is our radio of choice for challenging rural deployments," said Ken Garnett, CTO of Cal.net, a California wireless ISP, which conducted one of the USA's largest commercially feasible TVWS experimental trials in 2013. "By successfully penetrating dense forests and skirting terrain obstructions where no other wireless technology is adequate, RuralConnect allows us to dramatically increase the success rate of our installations."

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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