Nashville music interests tell FCC to exercise caution with white space devices

Several Nashville-based music interests told the FCC Tuesday that the lack of failsafe protection to prevent interference to wireless mics from unlicensed devices operating in TV white spaces would have catastrophic consequences for the music industry.

In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the group, which includes the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Association, Country Music Television and MTV Networks, said the commission should exercise caution when deciding the future of white space devices to make certain that any proposed devices actually protect wireless mics before the FCC issues rules regarding their design and operation.

Various broadcast interests, including NAB and the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), as well as manufacturers of wireless mics have previously offered similar advice to the commission. The FCC Office of Engineering & Technology is conducting field and lab tests of prototype white space devices to determine the performance of spectrum sensing technology that white space device proponents say can identify the presence of DTV and wireless mic transmissions to avoid interference.

In its filing, the Nashville groups said “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 group also objected to proposed plans to require wireless mics to be equipped with beacons to assist in preventing interference from white space devices. Such beacons would be necessary for each channel used by a wireless mic, “imposing a significant additional expense and an operational nightmare,” the filing said.

According to the group, rather than relying on beacons, the FCC should refocus its efforts on examining fixed systems with protected adjacent TV channels and other interference protections.