THURMAN In a demonstration Monday Dec. 30 of “white space” broadband technology, a group of local residents at a hillside rural home fired up a laptop computer, a smartphone, an iPod, and a Kindle tablet, all connected to the Internet and they simultaneously downloaded movies, videos and email, while holding a videoconference.
The result? The streaming video and movie didn’t stall or hesitate, and data transfer was lightning fast — some said better than their high-speed cable service in metropolitan areas.
The demonstration was conducted by network engineer Fred Englemann, who is contracted to build a “white space” broadcast system deep in rural Thurman. The results discredited rumors circulating in town that “white space” broadcast would be slow and impractical.
The demonstration was accomplished under more challenging circumstances than called for under pending system plans. The signal was broadcast farther than two miles, twice the distance specified in the network construction plans.
The contract calls for providing 80-plus households in northern Thurman, homes that are far beyond the reach of DSL or cable.
Streaming video, but no stalling
Signal tests performed at the home indicated no data loss nor dropped signals — and fast upload speeds.
This is the first phase of a project launched by the Thurman town board to connect the citizens of the sparsely settled town to the Internet.
The project received a $200,000 state grant to build the network and subsidize about half the cost of each household’s receiver and signal processor.
Thurman Town Supervisor Evelyn Wood was present for the demonstration, held at the house of Eric Lohrey.
“I was very impressed with the demonstration,” Wood said. “We had phones, tablets and a laptop all accessing the Internet at the same time, and everybody was doing something different: streaming video, Netflix, FaceTime, YouTube, and there was no time lag, no stalling,” she said. “The tests that were conducted showed that speeds exceeded DSL capabilities — and there was no data-packet loss.”