Nashville, TN (May 16, 2008)--The Grand Ole Opry, CMA, CMT, MTV and other Nashville-based music interests joined forces this week in an effort to stave off the efforts of manufacturers who are anxious to produce new television white space device, by filing a five-page letter of concern with the Federal Communications Commission.
The letter states that allowing millions of wireless devices to operate in the same spectrum as wireless microphones without failsafe protections would be a "catastrophe" and that the Nashville entities felt the manufacturers were pushing the FCC to "discount - even overlook" the to-date poorly performing prototype technology platforms submitted to the FCC's labs.
"We know all too well that there is no 'second chance' to re-do a live performance," said Steve Gibson, Music Director and Producer of Broadcast Audio for the Grand Ole Opry. "The white spaces proposals being considered by the FCC could turn 'Music City' into a silent city unless they get it right. As it stands, these proposals will not provide critical protection to the wireless microphone systems that are integral to every show," he added.
In their filing, the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Television (CMT), the Country Music Association (CMA), MTV Networks, Fitzgerald Hartley (management for Vince Gill and LeAnn Rimes), SGTV (Producer for the Dove Awards) and SeisMic Sound (audio engineers for the CMT Video Music Awards and the Dove Awards) called on the FCC to maintain its "cautious" approach to determining whether wireless "white spaces" devices that operate in the same spectrum as wireless microphones should be sold to the public. They asserted that the Commission must ensure that any proposed new devices can actually protect wireless microphones before issuing rules regarding their design and operation.
"We fully support and appreciate the Commission's decision to test 'white space' device prototypes--in laboratory and field environments--to assess whether they will, in fact, prevent interference to existing spectrum users. It should go without saying that the Commission should not proceed to the next step unless those tests demonstrate that spectrum sensing or other interference protection measures being proposed can reliably protect wireless microphones and DTV," the filing states.
The groups criticized the "beacon" plans recently proposed by some technology companies, noting that these beacons would rely on spectrum sensing to avoid wireless microphones. "Spectrum sensing has not been proven reliable by the FCC's labs and has no record of successfully preventing interference," said Gibson.
Moreover, the groups noted in its filing that the beacon plan would require wireless microphone users to purchase a separate beacon for each channel used - "imposing a significant additional expense and an operational nightmare."
"Given the great number of wireless microphones used at the CMA Festival, as just one example, in addition to the thousands in constant operation throughout Nashville at its various concert and performance venues, the added burden of beacons, made necessary by this plan to protect the operation of equipment already owned and operating successfully, is outrageous and impractical," the filing explained.
Federal Communications Commission