God & Country Line Up to Stop White Spaces

A week before the Federal Communication Commission is set to vote on a proposal to turn over spectrum between the digital television channels for a wireless broadband service, singer/songwriter Dolly Parton has come out against the plan. She joins mega-church pastor Joel Osteen and a slew of other strange bedfellows who depend on wireless microphones for their performances. On the other side are tech stalwarts such as Google, Microsoft, Motorola and Dell.

Wireless mic users and the National Association of Broadcasters have become increasingly vocal leading up the the FCC vote, claiming broadband service in that spectrum would cause undue interference to microphones and television channels. The FCC earlier this month issued a report downplaying those concerns (although not eliminating them entirely), and FCC chairman Kevin Martin seems eager to go ahead with some sort of nationwide broadband service in what’s called the white spaces.

If the FCC approves the proposal, opponents may still gain a slight victory if the devices operating in the spectrum aren’t allowed to be very “loud” when transmitting their signals. That would decrease the usefulness of such devices by requiring more infrastructure to offer a broadband service, but it would also reduce potential interference. With only a week left, Parton and crew are working 9 to 5 to halt wireless broadband.

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