Focus on Technology: FCC Orders Frequency Changes for Wireless Microphones to Make Room for new 4G Wireless

Guess what? The AV industry is the small kid on the block… If you are in the US you have likely seen the commercials for Verizon and AT&T cellular data coverage plans. The new 4G wireless systems are available, in part, due to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order that changes the frequency for some wireless microphones.

“This action helps complete an important component of the Digital Television Transition by clearing the 700 MHz band to enable the rollout of communications services for public safety and the deployment of next generation 4G wireless devices for consumers. The order will primarily impact the use of wireless microphone systems that currently operate in the 700 MHz band. These unlicensed devices cannot continue to operate in this band because they may cause harmful interference to public safety entities and next generation consumers devices that will be utilizing the 700 MHz frequency” stated the FCC.

In other words, in order for the cell and data phone companies to grow many of us will need to finally give up our older wireless microphones. Depending on the system that is used, you have until have until June 12 to find alternative radio frequencies — a task that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for each organization.

The FCC’s ruling is part of a national shift on the reallocation of bandwidth, which is in short supply due to the increasing use of mobile telephones and wireless computers. The Commission said the wireless microphone transition is necessary to make spectrum in the 700 MHz band available for use by next-generation wireless services for consumers and public safety agencies.

Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group, said the commission’s order was important because the spectrum vacated will be used by entrepreneurs seeking to come up with new wireless services.

Shure, a major manufacturer of wireless microphones, said it was ready to help users of wireless microphones with the new rules that go into effect after June 12. “We’re pleased that the FCC has issued a firm transition date for 700 MHz wireless equipment,” said Mark Brunner, Shure senior director of global brand management. “In anticipation of the postDTV transition UHF landscape, Shure has been moving its product lines away from the 700 MHz band for the better part of a decade, and have not sold a 700 MHz product since 2007 when change was formalized in the planning stages.”

As always, if that does not give you all of the information you need, just contact us and one of our engineers will be glad to help you out.