I’ve been pointing out that this is coming for a few years.
Many small town and rural libraries and a few urban libraries sometimes think that they’re all set strategically in the position as the providers of decent internet connectivity in zones where the broadband connections to the web haven’t reached the homes.
“A new flavour of Wi-Fi, with longer range and wall-piercing power, could show up in wireless gadgets a year from now if the U.S. Federal Communications Commission works out the last details of new spectrum rules that have been long in the making.”
“Nearly two years ago, the FCC voted to open up the airwaves between broadcast TV channels — so-called “white spaces” — for wireless broadband connections that would work like Wi-Fi on steroids.”
“White spaces are a big deal for consumers and for investment and innovation.”
“The commission’s plan would make white spaces available for free, without specific permission, just as it already does for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.”
“If all goes according to plan, Liam Quinn, chief technology officer for client business at Dell, expects to see “proof of concept” products at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, followed by early products in about a year and mass production a year after that.”
“White-spaces networks could be used to bring high-speed internet access to remote corners of the country where the phone and cable companies don’t offer landline broadband. That’s a high priority for the FCC.”
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/09/13/super-wifi-white-spaces-fcc.html?ref=rss#ixzz0zRvkfE70″
It seems clear that every library’s 5 year plan should take into account that the world of web access and smartphones will arrive in all communities very soon. This means that consumer access to e-books, usc, movies and information will be more seamlessly available to all in a more equitable fashion. It won’t be perfect but it will increase access. Your database and website effort and virtual services will only increase in importance.
Libraries should take note.