A dozen households in rural Thurmann N.Y. now have high-speed Internet access provided by an Internet service provider using TV white spaces. As planned, the service will be extended to about 90 households in a first phase.
An estimated 75 percent of the town’s 400 households now cannot buy either telephone company or cable TV company high speed access, though all could buy satellite broadband if they chose to do so.
The dozen subscribing households pay $50 per month for the service, plus an up-front equipment charge of $292.
Use of TV white spaces for consumer Internet access is one TV white spaces application. At least for the moment, however, the costs suggest that such applications might not have sustainable advantages over other platforms, as the recurring costs and initial terminal equipment are not so different from other ISPs.
One suspects the economics of a commercial deployment using cables, wires or even traditional fixed wireless were difficult enough in Thurmann that no other suppliers were willing to offer service.
The present TV white spaces offer was made possible by a grant of $200,000 from the state of New York, suggesting the level of subsidy required to get even the TV white spaces network up and running.