FCC Frees Wireless Microphones From Spectrum Auctions
new report and order protects mics and other wireless devices used by
production professionals and others from interference.
years of lobbying and cries of the possible scenarios that users of
wireless microphones might not have enough spectrum after the
government finishes its frequency auctions to do their job, the
Federal Communications Commission has adopted new rules that expand
wireless microphone license eligibility to include professional sound
companies and venues that routinely use 50 or more wireless
FCC plans to initiate a proceeding to explore ways to help
accommodate the longer-term needs of wireless microphone users
through use of additional frequency bands.
conclude that this measured approach strikes an appropriate balance
in providing the benefits of a license for entities and events that
have a demonstrated need, while ensuring that spectrum is shared
effectively with existing LPAS operations and remains available for
other uses, including TV white space (TVWS) devices," a newly
released Second Report & Order states. "The actions we take
in this Second Report and Order to expand license eligibility and
protection are only one step to address a range of issues concerning
the operation of wireless microphones."
move ensures that concert venues, theaters, convention centers, theme
parks, professional sound companies, and other large-scale users will
continue to be able to use their wireless mics without fear of
DTV Audio Group along with member equipment manufacturers like Niles,
Illinois-based microphone supplier Shure have heretofore taken the
fight against the spectrum grab directly to the FCC in Washington DC
and obviously welcomed the new ruling.
applauds the FCC's thoughtful decision regarding expansion of
entities eligible for wireless microphone licenses," said Mark
Brunner, Senior Director, Global Brand Management at Shure, in a
statement. "As spectrum demand is increasing from a wide
variety of technologies and services, protection of professional
audio operations is becoming more critical."
said his company is pleased that the Commission has recognized the
wide impact that wireless microphones have on the daily production of
broadcasters and video production companies (not to mention sports
leagues, live entertainment, as well as corporate, civic, education,
and houses of worship venues).
action takes an important step forward in updating the regulations
regarding professional audio operations that have become an integral
part of American culture and aligns with views held by regulatory
authorities around the world," Brunner said. "Shure
appreciates the careful attention the FCC has paid to this issue."
considering technical and regulatory factors, the Commission
concluded in a newly released Second Report and Order that the use of
wireless microphones (and related equipment such as in-ear monitors
and production intercoms) at major productions and events could be
effectively protected by expanding license eligibility.
Report & Order also states that wireless microphone users may
request protection from interference from unlicensed devices
operating in the "white space" between TV bands at the time
and location of these events by registering in one of the
FCC-approved TV Bands Devices Databases. This will enable
licensed users to obtain protection in a more streamlined and
efficient manner. Previously, only broadcasters, cable networks, and
TV/film production companies were eligible for licenses.
FCC R&O also states, "In the Incentive Auction Report and
Order adopted concurrently with this Second Report and Order, we
adopt several measures to accommodate the needs of wireless
microphone users in the portion of the UHF band that will remain
available for their operations following the incentive auction. Among
other actions, we revise our rules for co-channel operations to
expand areas where wireless microphones may be used in the bands that
will remain allocated for broadcast services,and we will
permit wireless microphones to operate in the 600 MHz guard bands
we will no longer designate two TV channels exclusively for wireless
microphone use after the UHF band is reorganized," it continues,
"we intend to designate one channel for use by wireless
microphones and unlicensed devices and plan to make improvements in
the TV bands database to enable more timely and effective
registration of wireless microphone users seeking interference
protection from TVWS device operations.
addition, while wireless microphones will eventually be required to
cease operating in the spectrum repurposed for wireless broadband, we
will allow wireless microphone users to continue to operate for 39
months following the incentive auction in order to facilitate their
transition to other spectrum.
recognizing the important benefits provided by wireless microphones,
we plan to initiate a proceeding in the near term to explore ways to
help accommodate the longer-term needs of wireless microphone users
through use of additional frequency bands to meet their varying