So-called “super wi-fi”, a new kind of wireless broadband, will soon become available to hundreds of US colleges and universities.
Declaration Networks, a company working with colleges and non-profit groups, says it is starting to offer the service to 500 schools throughout the US.
The technology is often referred to as “super wi-fi”, although some wireless providers point out it uses a different frequency for transmission than what most people use in cafes and in home networks.
The service uses “white spaces” or unused portions of the spectrum that is generally available for local television broadcasts.
This technology offers a bigger range than existing hot-spots, and is generating interest in several countries, including Britain and Brazil.
Declaration has been working with a consortium of higher-education institutions and non-profits called AIR.U, whose members are interested in improving high-speed wireless access, particularly in rural and other under-served areas.
Declaration spokesman Barry Toser said West Virginia University was the first to deploy the service.
He said super wi-fi required no additional equipment for most devices and could have a range of up to eight kilometres, compared with 100 metres for traditional wi-fi.
The AIR.U initiative, announced in 2012, seeks to establish white space networks in under-served campuses and their surrounding communities. It is supported by Google, Microsoft, New America Foundation and the Appalachian Regional Commission, among others.