Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bill Crawford: White space might fix broadband problems


White space surrounding rural folks across Mississippi may be the solution to closing our digital divide.
 
Huh?
 Well, "white space refers to the unused broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum," according to techrepublic.com.
 
Huh?
 
Okay, it's basically unused TV channels. Turns out TV channel frequencies below 700 Mhz function sort of like 4G so they can be used, with the right technology, to deliver broadband internet.  
 
Gov. Phil Bryant has joined nine other governors in requesting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reserve "at least three white space channels in every U.S. market" to enable better access to broadband internet for rural areas. This means they don't want the FCC to auction off these frequencies but instead keep access to them open and free.
 
"Approximately 34 million of our nation’s citizens lack access to quality broadband services, especially in underserved rural areas," said the governors' letter. "Whether it’s students trying to research a topic at home or entrepreneurs launching a business, the digital divide should not limit any citizen’s ability to learn, innovate, or connect to the numerous advantages enabled by robust internet access."
 
Turns out Microsoft developed technology that at any U.S. location can sort through the FCC's state-by-state database of used TV frequencies, bind three of them together, and provide access to high capacity broadband. The good thing about white space TV channels compared to cellular frequencies is their far reach, e.g., Mississippi ETV can cover the whole state with just eight towers.
 
Microsoft has reportedly opened up its patents to allow any broadband providers to use the technology.
 
Meanwhile, TV broadcasters say they will need those channels, especially to implement new ATSC 3.0 advanced transmission standard, according to Multichannel News.
 
However, a growing national initiative is promoting the benefits of TV white space access to broadband for rural areas. It's called Connect Americans Now (CAN). Mississippi's Delta Council has joined up.
 
"Staying competitive in the modern farm economy takes more than good weather and a strong back,” said Darrington Seward, a farmer from Louise and a member of the Delta Council. “A broadband connection opens up a new world of technologies, like remote soil sensors and targeted irrigation, helping to increase yields, lower costs and conserve resources. And just like any other small business, the opportunity to shop online for affordable equipment and access customers all over the world can be a game changer. I’m excited see Connect Americans Now pressing ahead on solutions that will expand broadband access throughout rural Mississippi and help close the digital divide once and for all.”
 
Sen. Roger Wicker, who joined Seward at a town hall meeting in Jackson put on by CAN, commented, "I am encouraged by this new partnership to help close the digital divide. Connecting more Mississippians to high-speed internet is essential to our state’s economic future.” Last year Wicker introduced legislation to speed up access to broadband for rural residents.
 
Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley likes the idea for telemedicine and rural clinics. 

Others see it as a boon for rural small businesses. That’s something economic developers for four, rural east Mississippi counties were yearning for recently. 

Maybe this is the solution they, and we, need. 
 
Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.
 

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

High altitude drones will be delivering rural broadband long before any of this is relevant.

Anonymous said...

Low throughput (< 14 Mbps) and limited range (7 miles max from antenna). Doesn't scale on network side of service. Won't go anywhere without massive subsidization by Uncle Sugar.

Anonymous said...

Yea this is a waste of time. The FCC might as well auction those freqs. Satellites is going to help the rural broadband issue shortly and you'll have at least 3 competitors to keep the pricing fair.

Anonymous said...

there is already satellite available (and has been for 10-15 years) and it's latency issues are too much to overcome for broadband

Anonymous said...

I only get 1 bar (or zero) on ATT in Washington County. What will help?

Also, will drones make cell towers obsolete?

Anonymous said...

IF the damn FCC and this new wave of millennial hippies will stay out of the way, there willing be unbelievable investments in network options over the next decade. But too many people are trying to put the feds in control. What idiot wants to invest in a government controlled market? Net Neutrality put network investment back a good 5-8 years

Richard Gozinya said...

So this fucking forum is uber PC? There is something non-PC with saying "Obama phone?"

SNOWFLAKE! GET TO YOUR COMFORT ZONE!

Anonymous said...

Someone must have reached out to Crawford after watching him carry the water for another crap shoot technology (aka Kemper).

Anonymous said...

No company will invest in rural areas unless there is some government involvement.

Anonymous said...

5:58 = small minded government bureaucrat

Anonymous said...

Thought I saw somewhere that somebody is working on using commercial aircraft criss-crossing the skies as a source.

Anonymous said...

Unless companies are forced or paid by the government to provide services to areas they don't want to, they won't. I live in a non-rural subdivision that has no broadband and it is solely because the developer screwed a utility and now neither ATT nor a cable provider will service my area. Satellite, which I had when I lived in an actual rural area, only works for some homes in my neighborhood, mine not among them. I'm backed by a very large, federally owned preserve. Great for privacy, bad for technology.

Anonymous said...

12:11....that's actually the problem...assuming the government has to step in to fix all our problems. They will assuredly apply last century's solutions to next year's issue. The marketplace is going to find a way to supply rural areas with internet. There are many concepts on the drawing board. The biggest obstacle is the fear that if they deploy capital that there will be no return because the government may step in and change the rules.

The reason the internet grew so fast in the first place is the pledge that congress made in the 90s to stay hands off. The reason deployment has slowed recently is because of this populist concept of government run internet, aka net neutrality.

Anonymous said...

6:37, right. I'm not lamenting the government's non-interference in my situation just stating the only way to force availability is by force or coercion. It's not the FCCs job to make sure I get Internet in my neighborhood, it's mine through my weak as water HOA. The data signal on my phone isn't strong enough to stream Netflix but can occasionally power my computer and printer via hotspot. Otherwise I can conduct most online activity through my phone. The current push for mandated access is likened to the mandated landline phone access of days past but shouldn't be. Internet access is not a life safety factor. Dialing 911 is.

Kingfish said...

Give up commenting about Obamaphones. They have nothing to do with this post.

Barry Pittman said...

...I just wish I could get something faster than my AT&T 1.5 Mbps DSL circuit....

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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