Broadband internet arrives in California's Gold Country through white spaces deployment

While select outfits race to make satellite broadband an acceptable solution for those who need ping times south of three digits, there's another game in town looking to quietly revolutionize rural access. As LTE slowly rolls out to major metropolitan areas in the United States, vacated spectrum is allowing companies like Carlson Wireless to offer up another option. TV white spaces -- unused TV channels freed up after the analog-to-digital transition of 2009 -- have long since been eyed as the answer for distributing high-speed internet to areas that aren't economical to reach via wireline, or are otherwise shunned by conventional wireless operators.

Armed with an FCC-granted Special Temporary Authority to validate the efficacy of the product in real-world scenarios, Carlson has partnered with Cal.net in order to bring internet to sections of California's Gold Country; the project comprises multiple transmission sites delivering broadband to several hundred heretofore un-serviceable subscribers in El Dorado County. There's no word on pricing, but we're sure hoping it's a runaway hit -- we can think of plenty of gorgeous locales in this country that could stand a pinch of internet. (Yellowstone National Park, we're looking at you.)

Show full PR text

White Space Arrives In Gold Country

The first commercial application of TV White-Space broadband offers residents of California's Gold Country a 'wealth' of opportunities.

ARCATA, Calif., April 18, 2013

ARCATA, Calif., April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 were 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.

About Carlson

For more than a decade, Carlson has led the way in engineering high-speed wireless communication solutions for a broad spectrum of applications by using RF technology to deliver full voice and data connections, no matter how rugged the terrain. More than 20 million people in nearly 200 communities worldwide rely on Carlson radios for their public safety communications needs. Today, Carlson is considered a pioneer of the revolutionary new TV White Space broadband technology.

About Cal.Net

Cal.net is a premier northern-California based Internet service provider, offering services to meet the data communications needs of individuals and businesses since 1996. The company provides wired and wireless broadband Internet access, Web services, and a local co-location datacenter. Cal.net's fixed-wireless broadband service provides quality high-speed Internet to thousands of rural subscribers in El Dorado and Amador Counties, California.

The Daily Roundup for 04.18.2013