FCC Releases New Rules Prior to Incentive Auction - AvNetwork.com

FCC Releases New Rules Prior to Incentive Auction

Publish date:

A portion of the Federal Communications Commission’s 600 MHz band will go up for auction during the first quarter of 2016, depleting the already-crowded spectrum for users, which includes wireless microphones in the AV and pro audio worlds. Anticipating the need to accommodate users that are affected by the smaller spectrum, the FCC has released two announcements—one about plans to allow wireless microphones to use new spectrum bands, and a second about unlicensed services within the 600 MHz band.

The 600 MHz spectrum band predominantly caters to TV broadcasting; however, wireless microphones in the live sound and AV industries operate on the unused frequencies within that band. The FCC is paying participating broadcasters for their licenses to certain frequencies, which will then be auctioned to wireless companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, etc, next year. What this means for AV is that users have less frequencies to work with for wireless mics, and manufacturers need to design products to sync with new frequencies outside the 600 MHz spectrum.

“There’s a limited coverage range, and that needs to be dealt with,” explained Mark Brunner, senior director of global brand management at Shure. Brunner has spent the past several years monitoring the reduction of wireless spectrums used by AV, and advocates on behalf of these users to the FCC on a regular basis. “These spectrum changes are moving quickly, but that doesn’t mean equipment will be obsolete immediately. The Commission is doing its best to ensure a smooth transition after the auction to minimize disruption to pro audio.”

On August 6, the FCC announced that it has adopted new rules that will enable wireless microphones to use new spectrum bands.

“With less space in the TV band, we need new spectrum bands. This means manufacturers will have to produce new equipment to fit in that spectrum,” Brunner said. “The FCC is giving us a safety valve while we transition. The auction will occur next year, but it will be several years before the transition is complete.”

The FCC release explains that wireless microphone users will have access to: “(1) significantly more spectrum in the 900 MHz band; (2) access to a portion of the 1435-1525 MHz band at specified times and places, subject to coordination requirements that protect critical aeronautical mobile telemetry; and (3) access to portions of the 6875-7125 MHz band.”

The FCC also announced it will permit unlicensed fixed and personal/ portable white space devices and unlicensed wireless microphones to use channels in the 600 MHz spectrum, which will make the spectrum even more crowded. In response, Brunner encourages wireless users to get licensed.

“There’s going to be changes. License eligibility has expanded, meaning the ability to be a licensed operator of wireless mics is expanded. You will have greater rights with a license in the post-auction environment, so for any serious AV integrators or rental companies, they should look into becoming licensed,” he said.


Shure Responds To FCC Moves

NILES, IL—On the heels of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) order that the operation of wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, and related equipment in the 700 MHz band will not be permitted after June 12, Shure Incorporated reiterated its commitment to assist wireless system users with the transition.

FCC Revising Wireless Microphone License Eligibility

WASHINGTON, DC--After nearly 35 years, the Federal Communications Commission is considering expanding its licensing rules for wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, production intercom systems, and similar equipment that operates in the television broadcast (VHF and UHF) band. Until now, only broadcasters, motion pic

FCC Extends Deadline for Comments on Wireless Microphone Licensing

NILES, IL--The Federal Communications Commission has extended the deadline for public comments relating to proposed changes in wireless microphone licensing rules.  The comment period, which would have expired on February 22, now closes on March 1, 2010. The Commission determined that the public interest would be ser

Shure Applauds FCC White Space Decision

Shure Incorporated and a number of Congressional legislators applauded a decision by the Federal Communications Commission to protect wireless microphone users from interference from “white space devices.”  The Memorandum Opinion and Order issued today by the FCC reserves two TV channels nationwide for wireless microp

FCC Invited to Test White Spaces At Upcoming Events

In response to the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announcement two weeks ago that it will conduct field tests of prototype White Spaces devices, including tests at a sports and an entertainment venue, several large-scale productions and events have offered their locations for these tests.