Libraries Whitespace Project

       Community SecondNets  Libraries partnering with schools, clinics, colleges and other anchor institutions, as second responders, install dual use, wide area wireless networks, creating redundant communications capability to expand inclusion and  strengthen community resilience against disasters.  

#2ndNets  @GigLibraries

Beyond the Walls Awards Winners announced: Nine libraries in seven states to lead community projects.

Wins Knight Foundation Prototype Grant for "Whitespace 101"

Whitespace Project     
Demonstrates how integrating the near universal compatibility of Wi-Fi with the range and penetrating capabilities of TV White Space (TVWS) equipment can increase availability and convenience of library Wi-Fi access at new fixed / portable community hotspots.

Communities across the country have begun to install TVWS units to support new remote public library Wi-Fi access points in parks, community centers, shelters, kiosks, underserved library branches and other publicly accessible places.

Project Background:
The Pilot began in 2013 as an early stage national trial involving libraries in six states. As of 2015, the initiative has grown into an open global collaboration project. 


Currently, the 10's of millions of people in the U.S. who rely solely or in part on public libraries to provide broadband access must be in or just beside one of 16,000+ facilities.

TV White Space has advantages both in a range measured in 100's and even 1,000's of meters and in its ability to connect through walls, trees and other obstructions. And like Wi-Fi, TVWS (sometimes called Super WiFi) uses unlicensed radio spectrum in the UHF TV bands, open and available to anyone with certified equipment to use with no fees, carriers or other permissions required.

"The technology was easy to set up; works extremely well and requires little support. It just runs day in and day out. We typically have over 200 associations a day and move an average of 2.5 GB of data a day over the network. It has been transformational for our little town” -John Gavan of Delta County, CO Public Library.

Since 2014 the Pilot has sought participation by library consortia anywhere in the world to explore the potential of TVWS/Wi-Fi networks to play a role in providing first time access to the over 4 billion people without internet connections.

"Who better and more trusted than the world's 320,000 libraries, as intermediate end points in telecom infrastructure buildout, to act as test lab and access point in communities everywhere. The impact of this in America and the rest of the world is incalculable! The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance completely supports this proposal." H Nwana, Executive Director and fmr. head of spectrum at UK regulator Ofcom.

Libraries WhiteSpace Project  Overview video (2 min.)

Libraries and other community anchors are invited to join the Whitespace Project to install, support or analyze TVWS/WiFi networks as part of a new national assessment to evaluate capabilities to widen public library Wi-Fi availability and for potential as a new disaster readiness resource.


Prospective WS Libraries U.S. Coverage Map

Project Affiliates:
-- International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
 -- Chief Officers of StateLibrary Agencies (COSLA)
-- Internet Society (ISOC)
-- Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA)
-- OTI/ New America Foundation 
-- Partnership for Public Access (P4PA)
-- WhiteSpace Alliance

Supporting organizations:
-- Adaptrum Inc.
-- Wireless ISP Association-WISPA
-- Institute for Infocomm Research 
(I2R) -Singapore
-- Turku University of Applied     Sciences -Finland
-- Power Automation - Singapore
-- Open Technology Institute / New   American Foundation
-- Microsoft
-- WhiteSpace Alliance
-- Internet2
-- Internet Archive
-- Public Knowledge
-- Fiber Tower
-- CTC Networks

“It is amazing how persuasive it is when something actually works. Having libraries engage in showing (even modestly) what is possible in this new TV White Space environment is the most persuasive way to get others up and running," -GLN advisor and internet pioneer, Vint Cerf.

"This pilot program(FCC Rural BB) will help us learn... how anchor institutions –including schools and libraries – can harness demand for the greater good of an entire community; and how new forms of wireless can reach deep into the interior of rural America." -Tom Wheeler, fmr. FCC Chairman

GLN Comment on SHLB e-rate petition Allowing the Use of E-rate Funds for Remote Learning 

2016 MLS Grant Details

Advisory Group:
Jennie Stapp, Vint Cerf, Michael Calabrese, Joanne Hovis, Paul Garnett, Rick Whitt, Annie Norman, Lev Gonick, John Windhausen, Harold Feld, Susan Crawford, David Weinberger, Ellen Goodman, William Lehr, John Horrigan, Bill Schrier, Marty Stern

In the News:

Wi-Fi in the “White Space”Unused TV spectrum offers libraries potential for rural broadband

Internet Society Blog

Library Journal

Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries

Library Journal 



"SecondNet: Libraries Using TV WhiteSpace to Increase Community Resilience and Expand Patron Access."

IFLA IT Section Newsletter



Broadband Communities





BB Communities Magazine

CommunityBroadband Networks


Government Technology




Concord Monitor

Access Humboldt

MIT Tech Review

Light Reading






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