Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 …
While spending the week at a seminar sponsored by the Foundation for Economic Education, I’ve repeatedly noticed the presenters tripping over a wired microphone. With some help from the Google machine, I learned that this is because the Federal Communications Commission recently placed a ban on wireless microphones that use the 700 megahertz band. The space will be reserved for the use of emergency responders.
Although this ban may provide some social benefits in terms of improving emergency services, these should be weighed against the increased marginal costs of doing business — costs that are inevitably imposed on others.
This ban will negatively affect the organizations that use such microphones in their operations — businesses, theaters, churches, schools, news stations, etc. Organizations that have already made a capital investment in wireless microphones will have to spend additional money to replace them. This is money that they could have invested in other areas of their business, or kept as profit. Furthermore, manufacturers of wireless microphones will have to close or produce a different product, not for lack of consumer demand, but because of government mandate.
If this ban means that I can’t play Beatles Rock Band on my Nintendo Wii because the signal for my wireless guitars is blocked, then I will be inconsolable.