broadband Business

Tim Mackintosh is getting excited at the prospect of high speed B4RN internet access and has some suggestions of how he might use its excess capacity

ultra high speed broadband uses – innovative ways of using your high capacity internet connection

Tim Mackintosh is about to dig himself onto the B4RN hyperfast hyperhighway. In this post he discusses innovative ways of using the capacity that will soon be made available to him and talks about TV White Space.

Well, it’s a bit too wet today to do anything to help push forward that twenty kilometre trench today … so, I thought I’d just ponder what it might mean to us all once the sods are replaced and Silverdale residents have gigagot their gigabits.

As Karen Adams posted on B4RL Facebook page recently, in an extract from a CNET article written five years ago, Verizon Communications Chief Information Officer Shaygan Kheradpir said:- “I remember when AOL first came out and people wondered why people would ever need faster than 56Kbps downloads,” he said. “Every time we have increased the speed of service, consumers and others have found a way to fill the pipe. I’m confident that someone will figure out what to do with all that capacity.” With our B4RN gigabit fibre broadband, we’ve got 18,724 times more capacity.  That’s a very big pipe to fill.

Of course, we don’t need to fill the pipe.  There’s no obligation upon us to do any more on line than we are doing now.  B4RN fibre is just going to let us do what we do much more reliably.  But what sort of things could we do, if we wanted to?

There’s a company in the Netherlands called Nerdalize.  For people in places like B4RNland with a gigabit at their disposal, they are offering the opportunity to use some of their unused bandwidth to heat their houses.  They will supply storage heater sized server units which will be processing information for universities, research centres and other industrial data managers whilst at the same time, heating the premises.  Nerdalize pay for all the electricity used by the servers and can still offer data processing at 30% – 55% cheaper prices than its competition. – Green, clean and environmentally friendly.

In the USA, there are a number of initiatives where communities can share their surplus bandwidth with less well connected neighbourhoods.  These initiatives are made possible by the use of TV white space and it doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to see how it would work in Lincolnshire.

What is TV White Space (TVWS)?

Between 2008 and 2012 the UK’s terrestrial television system switched from analogue to digital broadcasting. The TV transmission system is arranged regionally and so to avoid interference between neighbouring regional signals there needs to be space between the channels used in each region.

Devices used for program making and special events (known as PMSE), such as wireless microphones, occasionally use some of these spare channels, but the remaining channels can be shared for other uses. TV White Space technology makes use of these available channels using an online geo-location database that tells the wireless device which frequency it can use without causing interference to TV broadcasters and PMSE operators.  Depending on the availability of channels in an area, TVWS can offer tens of Mbps per channel over several kilometres.  One of these databases has  already expressed an interest in working with community projects for community benefit.

The Gigabit Libraries Project in the ‘States, has libraries with spare broadband bandwidth, sending some of this connectivity to more remote locations in their communities to provide a WIFI connection for special community events and activities.  TV white space technology is being developed extensively in many parts of the world and the equipment required is becoming more affordable all the time.  Individuals in B4RNland, with connectivity to spare and an interest in community art, could decide to use TVWS to share some of it, as a WIFI hotspot, with a ‘Woodstock’ like music festival visiting the vicinity, or a ‘Hay on Wye’ type book fair a field or two away.

Another TVWS initiative being explored in UK would be particularly resonant in B4RNland with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest as prolific as fleas on a dog’s back.  TVWS would easily allow any B4RN connected environmentalist to furnish a bit of bandwidth to a local university or conservation organisation that wanted eyes and ears on a remote location 24/7.  They could set up an HD video feed serviced by a TVWS link and put it immediately up on the web for the world to see and study.

Our community owned and managed gigabit connectivity is going to give us opportunities that not only don’t exist today but that will open doors to whole new worlds that we cannot even imagine from where we’re standing now.  

From the horse’s mouth, I have it on good authority that TVWS connectivity will soon be able to be mounted on a vehicle.  In the event of an emergency – road accident, rail crash, cockling disaster – anywhere in B4RNland, this TVWS mobile WIFI hub will facilitate immediate high bandwidth WIFI inter connectivity between all the emergency services, volunteers and local community resources to co-ordinate the best possible response in the quickest possible time.  All that’s tomorrow.  But we can start exploring its potential whenever we like.  

Once we’ve dug that twenty kilometre trench …

Tim Mackintosh found B4RN in 2011, attended their launch in Lancaster, bought some shares and started making a nuisance of himself locally. In 2013 he got together with a few like minded individuals and set up B4YS (B4RN broadband for Yealand, Silverdale and Storth) and obtained a grant from Arnside and Silverdale AONB to grease its wheels. So far, BAYS has connected most of one of the three parishes – Yealand. Tim has been interested in TVWS since before B4RN.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

There’s tiles in them thar clouds

Superfast translation

No more commuting to Budapest by composer Ervin Nagy

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes