CASA's School of Information Awarded $250K for Collaborative Tech Project

Associate Professor Kristen Rebmann, Department of Library and Information Science in the SJSU School of Information (iSchool), has been awarded a quarter million dollar grant in support of a project entitled “Libraries Leading in Digital Inclusion and Disaster Response via TV Whitespace Wireless Connections.” Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library services, the project will use an emerging low-cost technology, TV Whitespace, to extend wireless internet access to those who cannot afford it at home.

TV Whitespace utilizes frequencies that were freed up when television transitioned from analog to digital. In addition to extending wifi to remote locations, TV Whitespace can be used to create pop-up hotspots that provide temporary internet access after a disaster. It also makes it possible to establish libraries as centers for information dissemination and infrastructure during disasters.

SJSU’s School of Information will lead a high-level collaborative project team that includes Don Means of Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN), John Windhausen of the School, Health, & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLBC), Angela Siefer of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), and Joe Hillis of the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC). In addition to the work described above, the team will develop and deliver a free online course for librarians on how to deploy this technology.