Google trials white-space broadband

Google has already started playing with providing broadband over fibre, but the company is also looking to use the 'white spaces' in the TV spectrum - and is trialling the tech now.

Announced today by Google's business operations project manager Larry Alder, the advertising giant's latest foray into the world of the ISP is in Logan, Ohio, where it has teamed up with Spectrum Bridge and the Hocking Valley Community Hospital to deploy a wireless broadband infrastructure that requires no additional spectrum.

Instead, Google's latest project uses gaps in the spectrum allocated to TV transmissions - using data collected by Spectrum Bridge - based on an experimental licence granted by the Federal Communications Commission to provide broadband access.

Alder claims that the real-time white-space database provided by Spectrum Bridge prevents interference with any other signals - so much so, in fact, that Hocking Valley Community Hospital, a place where stray radio-frequency radiation is most certainly frowned upon, will be the first to make use of the new wireless infrastructure.

As part of Google's experiments, the hospital will be using the technology to provide high-speed Internet access to its emergency vehicles as well as the health department itself - along with full coverage across the grounds of the hospital. The new network will even be used to manage the hospital's outdoor CCTV system - hopefully with some decent security in place.

It's a little early for white space to be considered the next big broadband battleground, however.Use of the frequencies covered by the TV spectrum are subject to licence in the US by the FCC, which will be voting on the 23rd of September as to what rules will apply to its commercial exploitation.

The UK rules are even more strict, although as we head towards the digital switch-over there is always hope that some of the old analogue frequencies will be freed for the sort of use we're seeing Google experimenting with.