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NHCo. First in Nation to Launch White Space Network

Harry Taylor Photography
N.C. Arts Council
Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel in Airlie Gardens. With the county's launch of the white space network, New Hanover residents can access public Wi-Fi at Airlie Gardens, Hugh MacRae Park, and, soon, Veterans Park.

All eyes are on New Hanover County as it becomes the first place in the world to launch the white space network. An official launch event will mark the transition in downtown Wilmington Thursday.

Back in 2008, the county pioneered the switch to digital television, which freed up analog channels, the space where white space exists. The signals can penetrate trees and buildings, extending miles farther than traditional Wi-Fi signals.

Bill Seiz, with TV Band Services, has been working with the county for the last two years during the test phase and says it will revolutionize how the world uses wireless technologies.

“It is a little arcane, but when you grasp it, it's very simple. It's just going to make communications cheaper and better in the long run.”

With Thursday's launch, New Hanover residents can now access public Wi-Fi in Hugh MacRae Park and Airlie Gardens, with Veterans Park following next week.

Technology developers and manufacturers from the international community will be at the event to observe the possibilities of the network. If all goes well here, the rest of the country could slowly begin to see the network incorporated by the end of this year.

Tune in tomorrow during Morning Edition and All Things Considered to hear WHQR’s Sara Wood’s feature on the launch of the white space network. 

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? If so, we'd like to hear from you. Please email the WHQR News Team.