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August 30, 2013

Gigabit Libraries Network Announces Results of First National Super Wi-Fi Pilot

Las Vegas – August 30, 2013 – The Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN) announced the results of its open call to participate in a library consortium to run usability trials across the U.S. on newly available unlicensed wireless communications spectrum called Super Wi-Fi or (TV) WhiteSpace.

More than fifty library systems and consortia submitted a wide range of innovative proposals to deploy Whitespace devices to better serve their communities and patrons. Six have been accepted and will receive equipment to run trials through the end of 2013. Library groups from all regions of the country (KS, NH, MS, IL, CA, CO) will deploy Whitespace enabled remote Wi-Fi access points on “e-bookmobiles” and in other publicly accessible places in their communities.

“Broadband connectivity is important to all Kansas communities for economic development and to all Kansas residents for lifelong learning and professional development. Librarians understand this and are pleased to be part of a pilot with may demonstrate an alternative for providing wireless connectivity to library users,” says State Librarian Jo Budler.

The tens of millions of people who currently access public library Wi-Fi broadband must be at or near one of the roughly 15,000 facilities providing W-Fi access. Another 1500+ libraries are unable to offer Wi-Fi. On July 1, in an effort to test the capability of Whitespace devices to quickly enhance library broadband and/or to extend Wi-Fi access to more places, GLN invited libraries to submit proposals by August 12 to participate in the First National scale WhiteSpace pilot.

“The fact that we received many proposals from the state level consortia on such a tight timeline demonstrated that there’s not only a readiness to address urgent connectivity shortcomings but also a willingness to innovate by public libraries in all parts of the country. We urge every state to consider a Whitespace pilot collaboration to discover how this new open spectrum wireless technology might be deployed to enhance services and/or cut costs,” says GLN Coordinator Don Means.

The pilot will demonstrate how integrating these two wireless communication technologies can benefit library users by combining the new universal compatibility of Wi-Fi with the range and penetrating capabilities of TVWS equipment. Participating libraries will have an option to purchase the gear and the end of the trial. The national pilot project grew out of a local wireless initiative of the Kansas City K20-Librarians Consortium, announced in May to upgrade bandwidth to a remote KC, KS Public Library branch stuck with an aging T1 connection.

“Libraries have served as a destination for those seeking basic Internet access for well over 25 years. The GLN’s new Super Wi-Fi initiative positions the library community at the leading edge of next generation broadband. Access to advanced collaboration technologies and services will further establish libraries as a key community resource for health and wellness, 21st century skills acquisition, and lifelong learning,” says project advisor Lev Gonick, CEO of OneCommunity.

GLN also announced it has accepted a proposal from the University of New Hampshire’s Broadband Center of Excellence (BCoE) to lead a statewide collaboration – including the New Hampshire Library Association and NH FastRoads – to deploy TVWS systems in rural parts of the state. GLN and BCoE also announced a new collaboration called the “Libraries Whitespace Lab” to explore emerging applications and related system issues effecting libraries anywhere.

“We are excited about the possibilities presented by TV Whitespace technology to provide affordable broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved public libraries in the state of New Hampshire. BCoE views TV Whitespace technology as an important tool to connect broadband – starved areas of New Hampshire to the state university system and to the worldwide broadband community,” says BCoE Executive Director Dr. Rouzbeh Yassini.

Three world leading TVWS equipment manufacturers are providing equipment for the pilot. According to project supporter Jim Carlson of Carlson Wireless, “The capabilities of White Space or ‘Super Wi-Fi’ technologies to deliver wireless connectivity through barriers such as trees, hills and buildings, combined with value of the internet will allow libraries to provide broadband access at remote and mobile library sites. Our RuralConnect product will also allow libraries to create cost effective, in-house networks that can help meet their growing bandwidth and information needs.”

Participating library systems and consortia: Delta County, CO; Pascagoula, MS; Skokie, IL; Humboldt County, CA; KS: Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka/Shawnee; and NH.

Gigabit Libraries Network: 
An open collaboration of innovative libraries cooperating as a distributed testbed and showcase environment for high performance applications and equipment in the service of educational, civic and cultural objectives.

Supporting Organizations: 
Carlson Wireless, KTS Wireless, Adaptrum Inc., iconectiv,Open Technology Institute/New American Foundation, Microsoft, WhiteSpace Alliance, Internet2, NATOA, SHLB Coalition, Internet Archive, OneCommunity, Public Knowledge, CTC Networks, Spoton Networks, Keener Law Group

Advisory Group:
Jennie Stapp, Vint Cerf, Michael Calabrese, Joanne Hovis, James Werle, Rick Whitt, Lev Gonick, Barlow Keener, John Windhausen, Susan Crawford, Dick Sherwin, Marty Stern, Bill Narin, Apurva Mody

Jennifer Colton                                
[email protected]        

Don Means
Gigabit Libraries Network 
[email protected]

Edited by Alisen Downey

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