FCC Chair Praises White Spaces Wi-Fi Net

Says it could provide insight on future broadband deployments.

Acting FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn issues a statement Tuesday in support of a new campuswide Wi-Fi Network launched by West Virginia University and AIR.U using TV white spaces.

AIR.U founding partners include Google and Microsoft.

“Innovative deployment of TV white spaces presents an exciting opportunity for underserved rural and low-income urban communities across the country," clyburn said. "I commend AIR.U and West Virginia University on launching a unique pilot program that provides campus-wide Wi-Fi services using TV white space devices. This pilot will not only demonstrate how TV white space technologies can help bridge the digital divide, but also could offer valuable insights into how best to structure future deployments.”

The initial network, which will provide free WiFi, is confined to a tram system on campus serving 15,000 riders daily, but it is billed as a test for helping address broadband deployment in many West Virginia communities "where broadband access continues to be an issue." It is an issue of particular importance to Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee.

"The lessons learned from this pilot project will be important as Congress continues to look for ways to expand broadband access and advance smart spectrum policy," said Rockefeller in statement, according to WVU.