26 August 2008

Gone, Baby, Gone

Well, here we go....

From broadcastingcable.com (via Gotham Gazette): FCC votes unanimously to prohibit use of wireless microphones, other devices in 700-megahertz band after DTV transition.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin proposed the ban earlier this month.

The FCC also wants to prohibit the manufacture, sale, import or shipment of such devices that operate in the 700-MHz band.

The devices have been sharing the spectrum with broadcasters on those channels (52-69), but those channels are being reclaimed for advanced wireless uses by industry and first-responders after the Feb. 17, 2009, transition to DTV...

The commission also sought comment on a proposal to authorize current unauthorized users in the 700 mHz band--many wireless mike users are not licensed, in violation of FCC rules--by allowing them to operator on channels below 52-69. It will also look into complaints about the marketing of those microphones...

David Donovan of the Association for Maximum Service Television has pointed out that the move will reduce the spectrum available for wireless mikes used by news reporters and newsrooms and would "appear to make it more difficult to place unlicensed devices on channels 21-51 since the demand for wireless-mike spectrum will increase on those channels."

The FCC is currently testing those unlicensed devices as it decides how and whether to allow them to share DTV spectrum.

Initially, I'd been willing to accept the lost spectrum if it meant that free municipal wi-fi might become more wide-spread. But even though it looks like that's no longer the case, I certainly can't argue with First Responders being given the allotment. While some producers may think that their show is a matter of life and death, these folks live that.


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