The rugged landscape of California’s Gold Country has been sought after for centuries, but its enchanting features have also obstructed 21st-century Internet access. Newly released technology is about to liberate these rural environs, as the nation’s first independently funded commercial-grade TV White Space (TVWS) broadband network is deployed in the area.
White spaces are unused TV channels, whose powerful signals can travel over rough, tree-laden terrain. This long-awaited broadband solution avails rural customers to all the benefits of today’s Internet. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of an El Dorado County wireless Internet provider, Cal.net, many Gold Country businesses and residents now have access to these previously unattainable resources.
Just ask the local entrepreneur who wants to efficiently monitor her store locations. “I’m finally able to keep tabs on my business from home,” states Mrs. Edwards. “For twenty years we’ve had no decent Internet service where we live. Now we have superior remote access to our office computers, and can finally enjoy peace of mind while saving us many hours of driving.”
“Over 59,000 residents in our rural service area have had little or no quality Internet access,” explained Cal.net CTO Ken Garnett, who began investigating White-Space technology several years ago. “When I discovered Carlson, their White-Space network equipment was a quantum leap ahead of all other contenders. This new product allows us to serve a large contingent of these people.”
“Carlson specializes in rugged territory,” noted Jim Carlson, CEO of the Arcata-based RF design firm. “Rural broadband has long been the focus of our efforts, and we knew as soon as the FCC set aside TVWS for broadband that this would be the preeminent solution for rural areas.”
A brewery in the quaint town of Camino offers a prime example of TVWS advantages. “This is a very effective tool for my business,” states David Coody, owner of the Jack Russell Brewery. “Video conferencing was smoother than satellite, and I’m not hamstrung by its limitations. I’d highly recommend this to other businesses in rural areas.”
Carlson and Cal.net formed an alliance and set out to tame the wild territory. Armed with an FCC-granted Special Temporary Authority to validate the efficacy of the product in real-world scenarios, the partners have commenced the world’s first large-scale deployment of commercial TVWS products. The project comprises multiple transmission sites delivering broadband to several hundred heretofore un-serviceable subscribers in El Dorado County. The success of their project will help qualify the potential of TVWS and provide a hopeful outlook for millions of other rural Americans awaiting quality broadband.
Late last month Carlson began shipping its RuralConnect system to FCC authorized customers in fulfillment of pre-orders.