Gigabit Library Network Expands White Space Broadband Project


The Gigabit Libraries Network has expanded its TV White Space Broadband (TVWS) efforts to international libraries. CivSource previously reported on a project to connect municipal public libraries and turn them into local broadband networks using their own TV White Space access. New pilot projects will be deployed over the next few months in the Philippines, Finland and Malaysia.

Currently, the roughly 80 million people in the U.S. who rely on public libraries to provide broadband access must be in or just beside one of the 16,000+ facilities. First round pilots, in various stages of implementation, are yielding the positive results and hands-on experience necessary to support wider deployments. Some of the participating libraries have already completed evaluation testing and are exercising options to purchase the enabling gear.

The global pilot began as a local wireless initiative announced in May 2013 by Kansas City, Kansas Public Library to leverage otherwise high speed wireline connections to upgrade bandwidth to a remote branch stuck with an aging T1 connection. That quickly grew into the Kansas K20-Librarians WhiteSpace Pilot, a model for other states and the wider project.

GLN is also announcing a new partnership with the U.S. Wireless ISP association to encourage local TVWS collaborations. “WISPA and its network of 800 experienced wireless providers are happy to partner with GLN and local libraries to provide Internet access using TV whitespaces spectrum. One of the mottos of WISPA is ‘We take broadband where it has never gone before. Where there is a Wisp, there is a way,'” says Rick Harnish, Executive Director, WISPA.