New Hanover Co. leads nation in era of white space technology
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New Hanover County is making history once again, as the first county in the nation to utilize the old analog spectrum that was used by TV stations. Experts say this technology will soon lead to new innovations like countywide WiFi.

"One-third of our population does not have broadband at home," said Alan Stilwell, Deputy Chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology. "That is 100 million Americans that are held back by issues that include cost, lack of digital literacy and an underappreciation for the value of broadband access."

New white space technology might change this, though, in a few years. Thursday the first commercial TV white space network went live right here in New Hanover County.

So what is white space? Those at the forefront of this new technology describe it as WiFi on steroids.

"If you think about it as a two-lane highway with WiFi today, it's like going to a six-lane highway into the future," Spectrum Bridge CEO Rod Dir said. "This is big and significant. What it will do, it will allow more wireless innovation as a result of that."

With New Hanover County being the first to use the white space spectrum, businesses, municipalities and technology experts from all over the world saw Thursday just how this technology is being utilized. At Airlie Gardens, cameras have been set up for surveillance and observation.

"This wireless system that we have deployed here is amazing, because before we would have to trench wires in the ground and have to worry about a bunch of hardware," New Hanover County Director of Parks, Gardens and Senior Resources Jim McDaniel said. "Now it is very simple, quick, fast and easy installation. It also gives us flexibility to move them. So the cameras that are there today may not be there tomorrow."

The county is also using the white space technology to provide WiFi access at Hugh Macrae Park giving insight to what this new technology can lead to down the road, like areawide WiFi that will easily connect areas that were not connected before

White space experts say this new technology will not only lead to new cost effective ways of transferring data. It will also lead to the creation of new businesses.

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Wow, what a great idea! I hope we can find more projects that serve such a large portion of the county population. I'll bet the Dollars Expended/Person Using the Serves, will make this, on a per user basis, one of the cheapest public works project ever. As a tax payer, if the goverment is going to spend my money, I want the most bang for the buck (i.e. provide the most services for the least amount of money) and this is something that will benefit almost every household in the county.