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‘White space’ broadband demonstration in Thurman streams fast video, data

Conducting a demonstration of “white space” transmission in Thurman at the home of Eric Lohrey, broadband network engineer Fred Englemann (left) examines performance data on his laptop while Thurman town supervisor Evelyn Wood (right) observes. Those attending the demonstration said they were impressed by the speed and capability of the wireless transmission of Internet videos, voice and data. A similar public demonstration is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 14 at the Thurman Town Hall, and all are invited.
Photo by Sally Feihel

Conducting a demonstration of “white space” transmission in Thurman at the home of Eric Lohrey, broadband network engineer Fred Englemann (left) examines performance data on his laptop while Thurman town supervisor Evelyn Wood (right) observes. Those attending the demonstration said they were impressed by the speed and capability of the wireless transmission of Internet videos, voice and data. A similar public demonstration is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 14 at the Thurman Town Hall, and all are invited. Photo by Sally Feihel

— She said it was “exciting” to see five devices working online at the same time with no hesitation.

“To hear people say what a difference high-speed Internet access will make in their lives — it’s very meaningful,” she said.

No more slow dial-up

Of the 400 homes in Thurman, about 300 of them have no Internet access, except for dial-up, which is extremely slow and virtually unusable.

Shiela Flanagan, proprietor of Nettle Meadow Farm which supplies gourmet specialty cheeses nationally, was present to see the demonstration. For years, she endured dial-up — it forced her to spend 10 hours per day downloading data for one national client — Williams Sonoma, and the incredibly slow Internet connection, she said, forced her to drop them as a customer.

“I was impressed,” she said of the white-space demonstration. “Everyone was using different computers and other devices, and the transmission was extremely clear.”

She said that she tested the white-space signal’s speed by uploading information to send six packages via UPS.

“On dial-up, it would take two hours to send six packages, but on the white space, I could have done 20 packages in 5 minutes. We certainly are very excited about this technology. The lack of high-speed Internet access is the single thing that’s holding our business back from substantial growth.”

Wireless broadband could grow jobs

Flanagan said she anticipates that white-space wireless Internet access will provide a dramatic change in not only her business, but the lives of townspeople.

“This will allow us to expand our business, create an Internet store, and provide another local job,” she said. “And this won’t cost the town taxpayers anything.”

Town officials noted that a $200,000 state grant will pay for the engineering and construction of the white-space system’s first phase of 80+ homes, plus it is to pay about half of the $650-or-so cost for the receivers and other equipment that the homeowners are to purchase.

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