Wireless Squatters, Clear Out!

Soon to be heard in a church–maybe your very own:

Pray brothers and sisters that … phshphsh … twenty-four, we need an ambulance at four-one-nine Benedict Way, elderly white female not responding to stimulus.

This has been coming down the pike for some years now, but if you haven’t heard, be forewarned. All you liturgists using wireless frequencies from 698 to 806 MHz, it’s getting close to time to pack your bags and your ear and hand mics, and clear on out. Tyler Charles at Christianity Today has the story.

I’m sure that reform2 folks with acoustically perfect choirs performing in acoustically perfect churches aren’t too worried. I’m mostly solid-state, too. But if the priest is using a clip-on wireless or an ear-thingy, after June 12th, watch out. Especially if you live in a large metro area. Kent Margraves of the Sennheiser Electronic Corporation tells it:

Even if (churches’ wireless systems) are licensed, it doesn’t matter. They will still have to vacate (the frequency) when the time comes. An official ban has not yet been ruled, but when it is, it will include them.

Should you choose to ignore Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and everybody else with a slice of the 700 block …

(Your) wireless systems will not suddenly fail or shut down. They will, however, be at an increased risk of interference. As the new users of the 700 MHz band come online, wireless channels in that range may experience interference from cell phone and data services, emergency first responders, or other new services.

My biggest concern for churches on this topic is reliable performance. If a church is operating between 698-806 MHz, it is not unlikely that they will experience some sort of new interference in the coming weeks, months, or years.

Your church may have had good recent advice and your tech consultants may have placed you in the 500, 900, or another neighborhood. The article talks briefly about other options, including the choice some churches have made to donate 700MHz systems overseas where American telecoms don’t operate.

But if you’ve gone wireless for the mobility and convenience, you can be pretty sure that sometime between two weeks from Friday and the implementation of Roman Missal III the 700’s are going to see some rough sailing.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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