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White space networks haven't spread in quite the way some of its visionaries envisioned a few years ago, but the method of providing wireless Internet access over unused TV spectrum is slowly gaining a foothold. Companies like Microsoft and Google are using white spaces to bring the Web to underserved parts of the world, and a couple of commercial networks have been launched in the US.Now, white spaces may be about to gain traction in colleges and libraries. West Virginia University announced today that it is going to "use vacant broadcast TV channels to provide the campus and nearby areas with wireless broadband Internet services." The initial rollout will provide free public Wi-Fi—yes, it really exists!—on a public transit tram system. West Virginia is setting its network up in conjunction with AIR.U, a consortium of colleges and universities aiming to deploy white space networks on campuses and surrounding areas.Similarly to AIR.U, there is a new consortium devoted to bringing white space networks to libraries throughout the country. It's called Gigabit Libraries Network, and it will select qualifying libraries to "receive a trial system including a single white space Base Station and three remote library Wi-Fi hotspots, all wirelessly connected to the base station. Each remote would be sited at a convenient public location to provide patrons a basic level of no-fee library Wi-Fi broadband access."White spaces is technically not Wi-Fi. It uses different spectrum that lets signals propagate much farther, allowing the creation of networks that extend well beyond the library walls. Gigabit Libraries Network deployments will be based on an upcoming pilot at the Kansas City, KS Public Library, which plans to provide wireless broadband at the library and other public spaces. TV white space signals "can carry data signals for miles while being capable of passing through walls and other obstructions that normally limit wireless connectivity," the library noted in May when it announced the program.White space networks alone won't solve all or even most of our broadband access problems, but these new deployments provide hope that they might become an important tool in the US Internet arsenal.