The Central Virginian

Follow Us On:

Louisa pilot program harnesses airwaves

Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 9:33 am

A Louisa County business is at the forefront of new technologies which will use television white space to provide wireless Internet in rural communities. On hand for the launch of a partnership between CVALINK Broadband and California-based Adaptrum, Inc. are Katrina Duff, CVALink office manager; Alex Philips, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association FCC chairman; Supervisor Stephanie Koren, Mineral;  Bob Hardy, county director of information technology; Brian Gilbreth, CVALink president; Supervisor Richard Havasy, Green Springs; Supervisor Chairman Willie Gentry, Cuckoo; County Administrator Christian Goodwin; Caroline Stolle, Center for Innovative Technology program assistant.

A Louisa County business is at the forefront of new technologies which will use television white space to provide wireless Internet in rural communities. On hand for the launch of a partnership between CVALINK Broadband and California-based Adaptrum, Inc. are Katrina Duff, CVALink office manager; Alex Philips, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association FCC chairman; Supervisor Stephanie Koren, Mineral; Bob Hardy, county director of information technology; Brian Gilbreth, CVALink president; Supervisor Richard Havasy, Green Springs; Supervisor Chairman Willie Gentry, Cuckoo; County Administrator Christian Goodwin; Caroline Stolle, Center for Innovative Technology program assistant.

A Louisa County business is hoping to take advantage of available TV white space to bring fast and reliable Internet service to the county and surrounding areas.

CVALINK Broadband of Louisa is the first Internet service provider in the United States to partner with Adaptrum Inc., a California-based wireless manufacturer and leading developer of TV white space technology, to launch the technology in rural areas.

TV white space is comprised of the frequencies that were left over when broadcast television switched from analog to digital a few years ago.

“This helps Louisa County, and in the future could help a lot of rural areas, because there’s no one-size-fits all technology for last-mile-broadband,” Caroline Stolle, program assistant with the Center for Innovative Technology said. “So, it can potentially connect more citizens who were not receiving broadband, or better broadband than in the past.”

Brian Gilbreth, president of CVALINK, said that his company has already been piloting the project for the past four months.

A base station was installed on the town of Louisa’s water tower and he has been testing the link back to the company’s offices on Davis Highway, as well as to Gilbreth’s own home. As development continues, he said more units will be purchased to test in other homes and businesses in the area.

“It’s working great,” Gilbreth said. “The big advantage of TV white space is it penetrates through trees a lot better than your traditional wireless service and you can get faster speeds as well.”

However, Gilbreth is unsure exactly when the product will go into full production. Adaptrum  is streamlining the technology so that it can ramp up production.

“Since we’re the first [ISP], we’re hoping that’s going to give us a huge advantage as to where it’s deployed first in the United States,” Gilbreth said.

Since CVALINK began partnering with Adaptrum four months ago, others have signed on to test the product in Maine and Vermont.  The University of West Virginia has also been testing out the technology at the school for over a year.  Other pilots have been started in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Africa.

According to Gilbreth, the county of Louisa has also committed to testing the technology at the county office building. The white space spectrum is another tool that can help the county achieve the board of supervisors’ goal of providing broadband Internet availability to all residents.

The supervisors appointed a Broadband Authority earlier this year to seek solutions to the county’s problems of reliable broadband Internet throughout the area.

Over time, white space technology has continued to improve. What started out as a microwave-sized piece device, has been reduced into something much smaller and leaner.

To read the entire story, see the July 31 edition of The Central Virginian.