TV White Space: a work in progress

TV White Space: a work in progress

TV in a field

An absence of standards-based products is one impediment to broader deployment.

Comprehensive trial of TV White Space Internet technology identified impediments to large-scale deployment.

The trial took place in 2013 thru 2014 using TV White Spaces (TVWS), the unused RF spectrum frequencies originally reserved for television broadcasters. In and around Durham, N.H., UNH BCoE conducted comprehensive evaluations on the installation, utilization and operational performance in an attempt to determine the real-world potential for TVWS as a solution to fill in broadband network coverage gaps. Detailed findings from the trial deployment of technologies are available from the BCoE as two reports (TVWS Phase 1 Report, TVWS Phase 2 Report).

Four billion people worldwide are out of the reach of an available broadband network, leaving them isolated from today’s broadband economy, education and health care. BCoE determined that TVWS technology exhibited promise for helping to solve this broadband coverage inadequacy, but fell short on several measures related to ease of installation, performance and wide scale deployment.

“TVWS equipment and frequencies have the potential to deliver broadband access service, but the current generation of equipment and planning tools is  insufficient to support immediate, large-scale deployment,” the report concluded. Among shortcomings UNH BCoE identified were: 

  • Absence of standards-based products
  • Expensive client devices
  • Installation challenges related to antenna placement and orientation
  • Limited or uneven performance based on terrain
  • Susceptibility to interference from other unlicensed sources
  • Lack of installation and management tools

Despite these challenges, UNH BCoE’s trial suggests potential for TVWS to emerge as a part of a broadband delivery infrastructure, especially in rural unserved areas. “With sufficient motivation and investment by public and private resources, an industry can be built around TVWS broadband access,” the report states.