Music coalition takes on Microsoft, Google and pals
You are entering my white space
A coalition representing the American music industry has petitioned the FCC - with typically understated claims - to prevent exploitation of white-space frequencies, claiming that such use will interfere with wireless microphones.
"The white spaces proposals being considered by the FCC could turn 'Music City' into a silent city," claimed Steve Gibson, music director for live country music broadcaster Grand Ole Opry.
Google, Microsoft and others want to make use of the spectrum allocated to TV stations but not being used in every location, by producing equipment that can sense which frequencies are unused. However, the music and entertainment industry is already making use of that space for wireless microphones, and doesn't want to let it go.
The coalition includes various country music broadcasters and MTV Networks as well as sound engineering companies. It reckons that trying to get more value out of white space will disrupt their business, and won't work, in any case.
The devices so far presented to the FCC, to prove white-space utilisation works, have singularly failed to do so, but Dow Jones is reporting that Motorola will present an updated device to the FCC today that is intended to address just such concerns.
Their previous efforts were based on a database of TV broadcasters, so the device simply had to work out where it was to establish which frequencies were unused. Now they've complemented that with a system to listen on those theoretically-available frequencies, to be sure no one got there first.
This is unlikely to address concerns from the music industry, or hospitals, but if it works it might help convince the FCC that such devices should be allowed to exist.
If that happens the US entertainment industry will be facing similar problems to our own, which has happily been squeezing its microphones between TV channels for years. Ofcom, the UK regulator, gave our industry a stay of execution thanks to lobbying by Andrew Lloyd-Webber - so if the Americans would like to borrow said maestro for a while (say, a decade or two), that would be absolutely fine by us. ®
Reply to Pierre (re Mwahahaha).
In the UK OFCOM were going to sell off a load of radio frequencies as part of the Digital Dividend. At the moment there is a band called Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) used by TV, radio and live music. Since there is no way that the UK event industry can afford the billions of pounds that is the going cost of a radio spectrum these days, it would have mean that no event in the UK would be able to use radio mics, in-ear monitors or walkie talkies for events after 2012. Not even the BBC. A lot of time an effort has gone into making sure that these frequencies are treated separately, but there is still a long battle ahead. You can read more about it here: http://www.beirg.org.uk/ and here: http://www.jfmg.co.uk/
Spinal Tap here we come
there'll be plenty of guitars smashed up if the music industry loses
Actually we do pay for it
Every event has to licence the radio mics it uses - on an event by event basis..... A lot of people think this will only affect the theatre and concert industry - however this will affect all radio mics - from the corporate events launching whatever great bit of new technology - right down to the local karaoke - it's going to be painful