The next generation of high speed wireless Internet access got its first public test this week. StarNewsOnline.com reports that the nation's first ever white spaces network has now gone live on Thursday in parts of New Hanover County, NC. Visitors to the county's Hugh MacRae Park will be able to access the Internet for free in the first major public test of the white space concept.
As we have reported before, white spaces, also known as "super Wi-Fi" or WiFi-NC ("NC" stands for narrow channel), will allow for data transmissions to be sent via unused parts of the broadcast TV signal spectrum in the US. The theory behind this system is that high-speed wireless access can be used across tens of miles instead of WiFi's current limit of a few hundred feet . Also, the white space wireless signal would be able to penetrate through buildings and other obstacles better than conventional WiFi.
Microsoft is already promoting the uses of white space-based networks for future Internet access, claiming that the use of such technology has the potential to have a "multi-billion economic impact." It certainly could bring better and faster Internet services to rural locations that don't have access to DSL or cable Internet services.