AIR.U Consortium Announces Nationwide Program to Deploy High Capacity White Space Networks

Quick Start Network Program offered exclusively to over 500 represented Colleges and Universities

Vienna, VA – Nov 14, 2013

Declaration Networks Group, Co-Founder of the AIR.U initiative and a provider of wireless access networks, today announced the introduction of a Quick Start Network Program to accelerate deployment of next generation broadband networks in rural areas.  The program will be offered exclusively to the AIR.U Higher Education institutions.

The AIR.U Quick Start Network Program is tailored for Higher Ed communities to evaluate, design and deploy high capacity broadband networks, leveraging the unused television channels known as “White Spaces” frequencies.   The program includes a collaborative campus and community assessment to identify network expansion approaches to establish a sustainable path that will significantly increase the coverage and capacity of high-speed wireless connectivity.

The AIR.U initiative, announced in 2012, is a consortium of education associations, public interest groups and high-tech companies organized to establish high capacity White Space networks supporting wireless broadband applications in underserved campuses and their surrounding communities.  The founding Higher Ed organizations collectively represent over 500 colleges and universities nationwide and include the United Negro College Fund, the New England Board of Higher Education, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, and Gig.U, a consortium of 37 major universities committed to accelerating world-leading broadband connectivity and services.  Google, Microsoft, New America Foundation, Declaration Networks Group, LLC, and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) are also founding partners.

”We are excited to be accelerating the implementation of next generation networks in educational communities by creating this nationwide sustainable program that will deploy high capacity broadband  networks leveraging White Spaces,” stated Bob Nichols, CEO of Declaration Networks Group, LLC and AIR.U co-founder.

The Quick Start Network Program builds on the success of the first AIR.U network deployment on the campus of West Virginia University (WVU), providing students, faculty and staff wireless access to the Internet at WVU’s Personal Rapid Transit  platforms. It marks the next phase in the AIR.U initiative and is aimed at expanding the deployment of high capacity networks within Higher Ed communities.  This next phase of activities will include the development of a coordinated user group for AIR.U Quick Start participants to further develop the White Space technology, establish best practices, identify applications and share approaches for community expansion activities.

AIR.U institutions that take advantage of the Quick Start Network Program will receive an AIR.U certified White Space network that includes a base configuration supporting multiple Wi-Fi hotspots that provide high value applications including Public Wi-Fi, residential broadband and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) services.

“The Quick Start Network Program is the next phase of the development of AIR.U,” said Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U and former Executive Director of the National Broadband Plan.  “The Gig.U is proud to be a part of this important step to create sustainable broadband capabilities so that rural universities and colleges will have an opportunity to compete in the bandwidth dependant higher education market, and their students will have access to the kinds of offerings that will help them compete in the global economy.”

“The Quick Start Network Program responds to the need at many colleges to quickly and easily close gaps in campus broadband connectivity,” said Michael Calabrese, Director of the Wireless Future Project at the New America Foundation and an AIR.U co-founder.  “Since Super Wi-Fi technology is new, we believe that these initial deployments will quickly give colleges and communities the experience and confidence to plan more extensive deployments in the future.”

“Microsoft is pleased with today’s announcement of the Quick Start Network Program,” said Paul Mitchell, General Manager of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MFST) Technology Policy Group.  “As strong supporters of TV White Spaces and Super Wi-Fi, we are excited to see the AIR.U initiative use these approaches to bring broadband to thousands of students in traditionally underserved areas. We look forward to continued progress towards the important goal of expanding hi-speed wireless access.”

Barry Toser