Workers for Rainmaker Network Services install a receiver on a Thurman home as a part of a test effort preceding design of a network of 'white space' transmitters though town to bring reliable high-speed Internet access to the rural, hilly town. Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood has estimated that 80 to 90 Thurman homes could have 'white space' Internet access before fall 2014 — completing the first phase of an ongoing project to bring broadband to virtually the entire town.
High-speed Internet access for hundreds of Thurman residents is now closer to reality, as “propagation studies” of the initial wireless “white space” broadband transmission installations are now finishing up.
White space transmission refers to broadcasting data signals over the frequencies of electromagnetic spectrum existing between vintage television channels. Unlike cell-phone and wi-fi frequencies, white space transmission travels good distances in rural, wooded and hilly areas.
Fred Engelmann of Rainmaker Network Services is now analyzing data from the test transmission devices that were put in place this spring, and he is nearly ready to develop “buildout” plans that will detail the equipment and its placement required to deliver Internet wirelessly to 80 to 90 homes in the north end of the town. This effort is the first phase of a project to bring broadcast Internet service to virtually all households in the town of 1,219 people.
To date, most all of Thurman — like many other Adirondack towns — has no broadband service except for satellite, which can be unreliable, and expensive, with slow upload speeds.
Town Supervisor Evelyn Wood has reported that the white-space tests have yielded very positive results — homes connected with the test devices had reliable and fast data connections.
Also, Wood recently met with representatives from Frontier Communications and Verizon to discuss their potential roles in providing the trunk lines for the service.
As soon as September, it is expected that the white space transmitters will be providing up to 90 Thurman households with reasonably priced, reliable high-speed Internet acess — enabling them to say ”Goodbye” to dial-up or satellite service.
These households to first receive service are in the northern area of town, primarily South Garnet Lake Road, South Johnsburg Road and toward Valley Road. Tentative plans for phase two call for the service to be extended to Dippikill and Glen-Athol roads.
Thurman’s white-space broadband project has been recognized nationally, as it is a pilot project for a very promising technology that is expected to change a lot of lives in rural areas of our nation.
The Thurman white-space project, spearheaded by Evelyn Wood at the initial suggestion of Ava Ashendorff of Chestertown, has been described on National Public Radio, written up in the Senate Rural Resources magazine, and described on PBS television.
Supervisor Wood, who applied for and obtained a $200,000 grant for the white space broadband access project, was interviewed recently for the Capitol Press Room radio show, broadcast statewide.
(Adirondack Journal Editor Thom Randall contributed to this report.)