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God & Country Line Up to Stop White Spaces

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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 (s GOOG), Microsoft (s MSFT), Motorola (s MOT) and Dell (s 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.

15 Responses to “God & Country Line Up to Stop White Spaces”

  1. @Bob: You should read more into the situation. There are many sides to this story and far more detail that the article on this site provides. Several religious officials are involved in fighting this, trying to flex their muscle of convincing followers to fight against this. And for the record, the two bigest reasons that social progress is held back (When includes technology and health care) are traditions and religions. This is fact. Study sociology and do some research if you don’t believe me. I am sorry if my knowleges and understanding of the issues surrounding the white space matter expands beyond the topic presented here, but there is nothing rediculious about what I said. If you were more informed on everything that is taking place with this vote, and you were educated in sociology, you would realize you have no basis to call my statement ridiculous. Do not let your judgement overwhelm your reason. I have done my homework on this topic matter. You should study the topic a little more, and read more than just this article before you come to your own conclusions. Let the FCC vote. Most wireless microphones are illegally using the white space anyway (Oh wait, another fact not presented in this article) so many of the complainers have no right to complain by using such equipment.

  2. Hey — Is there any doubt that Dolly is being used? To see what rural America is saying about the ‘white spaces,” check out this ‘ex parte’ filing with the FCC last week by 10 rural organizations:

    The FCC has bent over backwards for the NAB over the last six years on the “white spaces.” The agency’s engineers — as well as the manufacturers — know that the technology is readily available. All the FCC needs to do is implement a “no interference” protocal with enforcement teeth, and let the technologists get to work. This isn’t rocket science; it’s not a technical issue at all. It’s just hardball Rovian politics from an industry that’s grown fat and entitled via free use the public airwaves for far too long.

    It’s time to solve the rural broadband problem and to boost our economy, telemedicine, public-safety and education with a new generation of wireless devices. Let the FCC vote!

    Wally Bowen
    Executive Director
    Mountain Area Information Network
    Asheville, N.C.

  3. @Dave: “Leave it to the church…” How ridiculous of a statement is that! It has nothing to do with “the church” and more how an individual or a group of individuals is expressing concern for how their use of technology will be impacted by some regulation. Although the rest of the comment was somewhat reasonable, it could not stand up to the utter inanity of the first sentence. In other words, you might want to get that chip off of your shoulder, its blocking your reasoning skills.

  4. damn musicians. First they try to stop free music now they are trying to stop potentially free country-wide broadband internet. Plug your mic in and get out of this fight it isnt yours.

  5. Leave it to the church to once again try to stifle modernization, innovation, and social progress. Why is the that TV is evolving, Wireless Internet is evolving, but Wireless microphones that are leeching on unsed space want to put up a fight insted of evolving with the rest of technology. Besides, digital signals are so simple to filter from analog equipment, so people are crying over nothing. They need to do testing to prove that the equipment even interferes with the microphones before they complain. I bet not a single dollar has been spent by these complainers on testing, but thousands spent on fighting against this vote. It would seem that microphones have been enjoying a free ride, and the free ride is now over. Time to innovate like the rest of the world. How about developing better quality products that rely on different signaling technology instead of blocking new technology with old technology. This argument is basicly like saying we shouldnt have hybrids on the roads, because they will interfere with other gas guzzling trafic. How dumb is that.