10.12.2008 08:00 AM
Megachurch minister joins white spaces debate

Joel Osteen, senior pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston, said to be the nation’s largest megachurch, has sent a letter to the FCC in opposition to the proposed use of white space frequencies by unlicensed devices. As a user of both broadcast airwaves and wireless microphones, Osteen said that such usage is a threat to his ministry, which hosts more than 40,000 attendees for weekly services.

The letter states, in part, "I am concerned that should the FCC turn a blind eye to wireless microphone use in houses of worship and open these respective frequencies to new unlicensed devices, the commission will cause immeasurable damage to our ability to minister. Static and audio dropouts due to interference from an unlicensed mobile wireless device would create a devastating distraction.

"From what I have read about the testing conducted by the FCC, there is clearly no reliable technology that can protect wireless microphones from the interference that comes from new portable devices operating in the same or adjacent channels as wireless microphones. We have worked diligently to coordinate the use of the wireless microphone systems that we deploy in each of our services. Adding new electronic devices to the mix would make our audio programming and coordination virtually impossible," he said in the letter.

This letter comes after a hectic period of lobbying in Washington by the Wireless Innovation Alliance, a group that strongly supports opening of white spaces to unlicensed usage, and opposing groups, including the Microphone Interest Coalition and NAB.

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov.



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