Wireless Microphone's Frequency Future Update!
Posted by: Rick Low - Sales Manager on May 26, 2016
To all our loyal customers, we thought it wise to share this update on the FCC's incentive auction of which part 1 has recently taken place. Joe Ciaudelli from Sennheiser recently sent this update and wanted to share it with you in an effort to keep you informed of what is happening. Also to let you know that future frequency issues are very avoidable at this point in time if planned for. Here is Joe's update:
The U.S. government has initiated a process, called the incentive auction, which will reallocate a still unknown amount of UHF TV band spectrum in order to accommodate demands for mobile broadband. This auction will affect the 600 MHz band and may extend down to the upper 500 MHz band as well. For wireless mic operators this means that many UHF TV channels used today may no longer be available to mics in the future. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or “Commission”) recently announced their initial clearing target for the auction which indicates reallocation of UHF spectrum above 566 MHz (up to 698 MHz). This represents the maximum amount of spectrum that will potentially be repurposed. The outcome of the auction may result in less spectrum being reallocated. The final band plan will not be known for several weeks or months. Pending the outcome, customers should start planning for the changes and be prepared to complete any transitions before 2020. In the meantime, customers can confidently purchase new UHF systems that do not tune above 566 MHz, such as Evolution Wireless A range (516-558 MHz) and the newly introduced A1 range (470-516 MHz) systems, since the traditional rules will remain intact for spectrum that will continue to be allocated to TV broadcast (mics will still be allowed to use locally vacant TV channels, as normal).
The FCC recognizes the importance and ubiquitous nature of wireless microphones in our society and plans to accommodate their use, largely through access to alternate frequency bands. It is noteworthy that the Commission is making a clearer distinction between licensed and unlicensed microphone operation. Licensed operation provides access to additional frequency bands as well as grants rights and privileges over any unlicensed device, most notably white space devices (WSD, also known as TVWS and TVBD). License eligibility has been expanded beyond broadcasters and content creators to also include sound companies and venues that routinely use 50 mics or more. Briefly summarizing, the FCC plans wireless microphones to use the following ranges:
UHF & VHF TV white space (locally vacant) channels.
Select frequency blocks within the repurposed 600 MHz band, called guard bands and the duplex gap. The specific blocks will be determined after auction but are expected to be largely uniform nationwide, which will be helpful and convenient for mic operation. Note: transmitter output power will be limited to 20 mW when operating in these blocks.
Unlicensed bands such as 902-928 MHz, 1.9 GHz (DECT), and 2.4 GHz. The auction does not affect these bands or any existing equipment operating in them (e,g. AVX, D1, Speechline DW).
In addition for licensed operation:
169-172 MHz (we are working with the FCC on finalizing the specific frequencies).
944-960 MHz, recently expanded from 944-952 MHz (the STL band). The FCC also intended to allow 941-944 MHz but some details are still pending.
1435-1525 MHz, this range is intended for use in large scale productions. It will require an application/approval process and equipment with an electronic key that will restrict time and location of operation to avoid interference to flight training communications that also use this band.
6875-6900 & 7100-7125 MHz (OK for short range, line-of-sight applications – e.g. news reporter directly in front of a camera)
Bottom line: the future includes wireless microphones and we are ready to assist owners and operators through the transition in the coming years."
Please feel free to call us if you need any help or assistance in choosing a wireless system or frequency. We have experts in house to assist you and make sure your next wireless purchase will be sure to give you years of reliable performance and operation.