Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The End is Near

…well, not really. Today was supposed to be the last day we could use the 700mhz band for wireless gear. However, it has ALL changed. The past few days have seen a flurry of new notices from the FCC. The one that sticks out to me is an update on the public safety channels. The FCC has now mandated that the public safety sections of the 700mhz band must now wait to implement their use of those channels. Previously, they had already forced a delay by private companies to begin using their purchased channels, but had told public safety they could begin using theirs on February 18th, as had been the plan for the last few years. Here is what this means to you and me. We have until June 12th to vacant the 700mhz band. The FCC is requiring all users to cease using equipment in that band by then. According to FCC 08-188 (NPRM&O), Paragraph 14:

"As discussed above, the Commission and various affected parties, such as SBE and Shure, have contemplated that low power broadcast auxiliary devices would lose their secondary status, and would need to vacate the band, upon completion of the DTV transition. We therefore tentatively conclude to revise our rules to make clear that low power auxiliary stations authorized under Part 74 of our rules – including wireless microphones – will not be permitted to operate in the 700 MHz Band after the DTV transition."

There it is. No wiggle room. You have four more months to be compliant. I've read that the FCC has promised it will not delay the transition again. It is time your leadership understand they have no choice. Either stop using wireless mics or replace what you have. Most of the manufacturers have a rebate program in place to help offset the cost of these new systems. Check out Shure and Sennheiser to get more information.

Mike Sessler posted this chart showing who has what frequencies. You can find even more details in this article, including maps of the US showing details of what the big players, Verizon, AT&T, and Qualcom own.

I hope you have enough data to help your church make the needed changes. I’ll be glad to answer questions if I can. Happy frequency hunting!


Blogger Dean Cooper said...

Despite what the FCC says . . . it ain't over till the fat lady sings . . . or in this case till congress allows this thing to continue as planned and stays out of the way.

2/18/2009 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The part you quote is from the FCC 08-188 Proposed Rule making order on August 2008. That is the only date I can find anywhere in that literature and it is only proposed. Please let me know if Im missing something so that I can informed decisions. I have been actively following this for a long time now. Thanks for the help.

2/26/2009 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous MWJosey said...

Adding to what JR noted above, as of even now (May 15, 2009), a month before the supposed cut off, all I can find are proposals to the FCC. I have yet to see and rulings by the FCC or congress which will make 700MHz band wireless mics illegal. I've had several people tell me that the rule has been announced, but not written down - which means it's not law yet. To this end both Shure and Sennheiser at NAB 2009 told me that there is no law requiring wireless microphone users to vacate the 700MHz band.

This said the writing is on the wall, it will most likely happen.

5/15/2009 11:23:00 AM  

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