Small Firm Bringing Internet To Rural Communities Using TV White Space
Vienna-based Declaration Networks Group has found a way to bring Internet service to rural communities through a fixed wireless technology solution that uses unlicensed spectrum and TV white space.
Remember fiddling with a TV antenna? TV white space is the spectrum that had been used by TV broadcasters for that UHF signal. With TV now digital, the robust spectrum was opened up by the FCC in 2010.
Declaration Networks Group was launched three years ago by Bob Nichols, Barry Toser and Keith Montgomery (seated). The company has been picking up steam the last year by selling Internet service direct to consumers and businesses in rural areas. The company attaches an antenna on the top of high point structures like water towers and connects homes to the Internet via wireless radios and wireless routers. “It’s an engineering feat to do this, but we make it look easy,” says Barry (green sweater).
The FCC estimates there are over 20 million people without access to high-speed Internet. Fiber networks exist in most urban and some rural communities, but they’re expensive and mostly going where there’s population density. Barry says there are even parts of western Loudoun County that don’t have high-speed Internet access. “Fixed wireless isn’t something Verizon, from a strategy standpoint, has chosen to do,” adds Barry. “So we don’t expect to have competition any time soon from large players and carriers.”
The company recently won a contract with Garrett County, Md, to build out a wireless network in the westernmost part of the state. The company is also using private investment funds to build out a network along a 70-mile stretch on the Eastern Shore of Virginia between Chincoteague and Cape Charles, Va. It’s an opportunity to market its service under its Neubeam brand name. The company generates revenue (no profits quite yet) by charging customers a monthly subscription rate.