New Hanover Co. leaders to discuss white space in D. C.

Reported by Claire Simms – bio |email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Wilmington was the first city to make the transition to digital television broadcasting.

Now, county and city officials are trying to figure out how to use the empty, or "white," space left behind and they'll get a chance to show off their ideas to the rest of the country.

[White spaces and Wilmington - why you should care]

County Commission Chairman Jason Thompson, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and technical support officials like Leslie Stanfield will travel to Washington D.C. next week to participate in an FCC panel on white spaces.

"This is a technology that's being looked at by the big players in the technology industry," explained Stanfield.  "The Googles, the Microsofts--they're looking at what we're doing in Wilmington."

New Hanover County has already put the extra broadcast spectrum to use in a few different places, including offering wireless internet to residents in Creekwood.  They also installed a camera in the center of Hugh MacRae Park that broadcasts video surveillance and can be accessed by law enforcement officers who are patrolling the area.

["White Space" project on way to Wilmington]

One of the most recent applications for white space in the county is a monitoring station at Page's Creek.  The device records water temperature, pH and other information and sends updates to the Porter's Neck Fire Station, which in turn sends them to the environmental planning department.

These instant updates should make it easier for the county to keep track of pollution and bacteria problems in the water.

"Ideally, if we saw a problem occurring," said Senior Environmental Planner, Shawn Ralston.  "We could go out right at that moment and possibly track where the problem is coming from."

The group will travel to Washington, D.C. this week to participate in the panel.

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