Free Whitespace WiFi in Manhattan

tower and wifi iconDo you remember the rabbit ears that used to sit on top of your TV? What about those first Twister poses you learned when maneuvering the antenna to catch the analog signal your TV depended on? All of those things seem like distant memories now, but as it turns out, the old analog signals that carried television channels, now called TV Whitespace, are still useful for something. In fact, they present an efficient and inexpensive way to broadcast WiFi signal.

Who figured out this bit of new technology? The Gigabit Libraries Network began a project in 2013 to test TV Whitespace technology, sending out an open call for libraries across the nation to participate. The six library systems and consortia that joined the trial include: Delta County, CO; Pascagoula, MS; Skokie, IL; Humboldt County, CA; Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, Topeka/Shawnee, KS; and NH.

“TVWS systems are very easy to set up and a cost effective connectivity option, particularly in rural areas where fiber, DSL, cable services are not available,” says John Gavan of Delta County, Colorado Public Library.

We are happy to report that the project is working. The Manhattan Public Library has now successfully installed Whitespace technology in three locations across town: City Park Playground near the Splash Park; City Park Pool; and the Douglass Community Center.

You might be wondering, who can use this signal? Patrons can access the free WiFi with any wireless internet device, using a library card number and password. To log in, connect to the wireless network named “Library Wireless.” Next, open your browser and go to From there, you will be prompted to type in your library card number and password. It’s that easy.

If you have difficulty connecting, please visit the library and talk to one of our staff members. If you don’t have a library card, or don’t remember your password, we can help with that too. No personal information will be given out over the phone, however, so it is important to stop by and talk with us in person.

The next time you’re hanging out at the park and need a new eBook to read, or want to check the weather radar, connect with friends, or just see what’s going on in the world, feel free to make use of those old TV Whitespace channels courtesy of the Manhattan Public Library.

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