Last Thursday the first white space wireless broadband network went live in North Carolina. White space wireless broadband is transmitted over small sections of unused portions of the broadcast television spectrum.
Some press accounts have characterized white space broadband as "Super Wi-Fi," but the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry consortium behind the Wi-Fi brand, says referring to white space broadband as "Super Wi-Fi" misleads consumers.
When broadcast TV went digital a few years ago, some of the spectrum formerly used by analog broadcasts became available to be put to other uses. The FCC created rules that provided for use of this spectrum in unlicensed broadband applications, similar to the rules that paved the way for Wi-Fi.
Given the similarity, some members of the industry press have begun referring to white space broadband as "Super Wi-Fi" due its propogation characteristics which will allow it to be transmitted over a much wider area than Wi-Fi.
While the name might cause some confusion, there are many more substantial hurdles for white space broadband to overcome for the technology to be adopted in other areas. For instance, multiple bills are currently before Congress imposing restrictions and regulations on those wishing to use this space for unlicensed broadband. Also, there could be substantial costs for building out this type of network, particularly if there isn't a high adoption rate. In fact, due to this adoption rate issue, white space broadband is largely seen as an option for expanding broadband to rural areas, rather than a one-size-fits-all broadband solution.