Churches, NFL Fight to Save the Cordless Microphone


Author: Danny Yadron
Coverage Type: reporting
Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Megachurches, Broadway producers and the National Football League have formed an unlikely alliance in a Washington lobbying fight. Their battle cry: Save the wireless microphone.

Regulators are eager to open more of the nation's airwaves to mobile-phone carriers and superfast Wi-Fi technologies. The problem is that some of the space coveted by big technology companies such as Google Inc. is already used to amplify the voices of preachers, divas and referees. Cordless mics, it turns out, aren't using just any old airwaves, but part of the spectrum best suited for carrying large amounts of data. Such fights are likely to crop up more frequently in the next few years as government officials try to divvy up a finite amount of spectrum to meet the seemingly unlimited demands of Americans leading cordless lives. The government is preparing to auction off valuable airwaves used by some broadcast-television stations, and mobile-phone carriers are in line to get much of that space. But regulators also need to determine how much spectrum, potentially worth billions of dollars, to leave unsold for use by consumer technologies such as microphones or new Wi-Fi services that companies might offer Internet users. In meetings with the Federal Communications Commission, microphone makers have argued that some proposals could wreak havoc on staples of American culture, such as Bruce Springsteen concerts.

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