FCC certifies the RuralConnect solution from Carlson Wireless Technologies that operates on unused "white-space" spectrum between TV channels when used in conjunction with a TV-white-space database from Spectrum Bridge.
Carlson Wireless Technologies will be able to offer its fixed-wireless RuralConnect radio system that operates on unlicensed in the marketplace after receiving certification when the solution is used in conjunction with the Spectrum Bridge TV white-space database.
With the certification, RuralConnect is authorized to transmit over “TV white spaces”—unused spectrum between licensed television broadcasters—in the UHF band between 470 MHz and 698 MHz, which the FCC earmarked for unlicensed use in 2010, according to a Carlson Wireless Technologies press release distributed this week.
“It’s been a long, hard battle,” Carlson Wireless Technologies founder and CEO Jim Carlson said during an interview with’s Urgent Communications. “We had predicted that it would come in 2011 or 2012 … but we were glad to finish it up in December.”
Other companies have received white-space certification from the FCC, but RuralConnect is “the first affordable product meant for community broadband services,” Carlson said. RuralConnect is designed to provide 12 MB/s for $800 per unit—and no cost for spectrum, because the TV white-space frequencies are unlicensed.
“It’s a step up from satellite [broadband service], for certain,” Carlson said.
As is the case with many broadband technologies, Carlson Wireless Technologies next year hopes to develop a solution that enables greater throughput speeds at a lower cost per unit, Carlson said.
And RuralConnect can deliver strong signal-to-noise ratios, because there are typically fewer television stations in rural areas, which results in more TV white-space channels being available for unlicensed broadband transmissions, Carlson said. Trying to duplicate this performance in an urban environment would be difficult, because those areas typically are served by more TV stations, which limits the amount of available white-space spectrum, he said.
By using cognitive-radio technology, software-defined architecture and dynamic spectrum sharing in combination with a white-space database like the one from Spectrum Bridge, RuralConnect is able to identify and leverage unused spectrum to deliver a long-distance, non-line-of-sight (NLOS), fixed wireless broadband system.
“Many parts of the country and world lack high-speed broadband access due to the limitations of traditional wireless network technology,” Spectrum Bridge CEO Rod Dir said in a prepared statement. “Carlson has been one of the staunchest advocates for rural broadband deployment, and we are proud to partner with them as they pave the way in delivering solutions to this underserved market.”
RuralConnect has been deployed in more than 58 trials during the last three years in the U.S. and internationally, including a 2013 trial with schools in Cape Town, South Africa, that was conducted with Google and other partners. California wireless Internet service provider Cal.net conducted on of the largest white-spaces trial last year.
“Carlson’s RuralConnect is our radio of choice for challenging rural deployments,” Cal.net CTO Ken Garnett said in a prepared statement. “By successfully penetrating dense forests and skirting terrain obstructions where no other wireless technology is adequate, RuralConnect allows us to dramatically increase the success rate of our installations.”