TV White Space

Community Broadband

Reliable Rural Broadband

As most of the world progresses towards ubiquitous connectivity, some communities are left on the wrong side of the digital divide. The RuralConnect seeks to close that gap, providing broadband accessibility even in rural, rugged terrain. Using 200 – 300 MHz of spectrum in vacant TV frequencies (referred to as TV White Space), RuralConnect is able to support the following


To last-mile locations:

  • Community broadband
  • Distance learning
  • Information services
  • Communication tools
  • Telemedicine
  • Banking accessibility
  • Entertainment streaming
  • Video surveillance security
  • Hospitals
  • Schools and Libraries
  • Municipal sites
  • Home networks
  • Office buildings
  • Park and recreation areas
  • Shopping and entertainment centers


“Super Wi-Fi” for Extended Coverage and
Non-Line-of-Sight Performance

This revolutionary TV White Space technology was nicknamed “Super Wi-Fi” due to its superior coverage, wide network range, and non-line-of-sight signal. Not only does this “Super Wi-Fi” boast long-distance propagation with low power consumption, but it also provides strong signals and increased data rates even in rural areas. While traditional Wi-Fi technology has a limited range, about 100 meters, and weakens in rugged terrain, a TV White Space network has the ability to penetrate foliage, hills, and other barriers while covering an area about 10 kilometers in diameter utilizing minimal equipment and infrastructure. Carlson’s RuralConnect TV White Space radio delivers an affordable high-speed broadband solution for extending existing networks to these rural last-mile communities.


White Space Community


Town of Thurman Community Broadband

The town of Thurman, a small Adirondack town in Upstate New York was a community with only one Wi-Fi hotspot. Thurman is covered in trees and surrounded by hills, making it difficult for traditional line-of-sight technology to reach. Due to the lack of rural broadband access, Thurman struggled with retaining small businesses, attracting new homeowners, and providing a modern education system for their schools. After receiving a grant to extend their broadband, Thurman became one of the first towns in the United States to make use of Carlson’s RuralConnect for a TV White Space community network.

Broadband for Malawi, Africa


Photo from Marco Zennaro’s Flickr Album: Malawi 2013 TVWS

In September 2013, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) in partnership with the University of Malawi and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Italy, embarked on a quest to establish Malawi as the first African country to regulate the commercial use of TV White Space. They initiated a trial with the goal of connecting various community institutions. The project was intended “to provide a platform for the improvement of e-services (e-health, e-education, e-commerce) as well as increase access to mobility and service delivery… these derived benefits will facilitate the betterment of the general population through socio-economic development of the country”. (Malawi among pilot countries in White Spaces project) Using the RuralConnect, this trial was able to successfully connect a school (St. Mary’s Girls Secondary School), an airport (Malawi Defense Force Airwing), a research facility (Seismology Department of the Government of Malawi), and a hospital (Pirimiti Community Hospital – an impressive 20 km away from the base), all with TV White Space broadband.

Libraries and Education Centers

Google™ and Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town

Photo by Engadget for Photo Gallery Titled “TV White Space trial in Cape Town, South Africa”

In Cape Town, South Africa, 10 schools were chosen for a TV White Space trial that would bring reliable and cost-effective broadband service to these underserved communities. This trial (involving Google™, TENET, and Carlson Wireless) was able to prove that TV White Space technology could operate efficiently without causing interference, even in a highly populated city environment. The service, which still provides sustainable broadband speeds to the schools involved, enables email service, digital learning, video access, Skype communications, and the ability to upload student grades and course details, transforming the educational system for these beneficiaries.

Gigabit Libraries Network

Delta CO Library

Delta County, Colorado Library – RuralConnect Base Station

The Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN) “is a spearhead project leveraging license-free wireless technologies to quickly buildout BB infrastructures for billions of underserved and yet to be served people”. Their goal is to use TV White Space as a cost-effective in-house network to connect rural community libraries where fiber or satellite technologies are too expensive to reach given environmental complications and low population density. Currently, the GLN has ongoing trials in 8 U.S. states and 5 countries, including the Philippines, Finland, Malaysia, Kenya, and Namibia.

“Since mid-2013, when the Gigabit Libraries Network fist initiated the Libraries WhiteSpace Pilot, various library groups have started deploying TVWS networks with remote Wi-Fi access points in parks, kiosks, underserved library branches and in other publicly accessible spaces in their communities and especially for their dual use potential for disaster readiness and recovery. Pilot has begun to show the value, ease of installation, flexibility and limits of this new free public broadband resource by wirelessly delivering broadband connectivity over distances of miles as well as by providing the leading use case for TVWS as inexpensive intermediate broadband delivery system to under/unserved populations.”  – Library-led 50 state field test of TV White Spaces potential to enable 100,000 new distributed library Wi-Fi access points

“At Delta County Library District, we have found that TVWS technology can punch through with megabit rate Internet where no other solution can penetrate tree canopy, buildings and other obstructions”… “TVWS systems are very easy to set up and a cost effective connectivity option particularly in rural areas offer where fiber, DSL, cable services are not available.” – John Gavan of the Delta County, Colorado, Public Library.