The FCC has issued new rules which take effect on July 13, 2020, that will require you to cease the use of wireless microphones that operate in the 600 MHz service band. This may result in some equipment changes for churches, schools, and other users of such devices.
To meet the increasing demand for wireless broadband services nationwide, the FCC recently auctioned spectrum that had been licensed to broadcast television stations. As a result, the availability of spectrum for wireless microphone operation on the 600 MHz frequencies, specifically the 614-698 MHz frequencies.
FCC Transition Period:
Until July 13, 2020, the use of wireless microphones may continue on the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz frequencies only if they do not cause harmful interference either to the existing broadcast television operations or to the 600 MHz wireless licensees’ operations in the 600 MHz Band. Wireless microphone users also must accept harmful interference from those broadcast television and 600 MHz wireless licensees. Wireless microphone operators may be required to cease operations before July 13, 2020, if such operations could cause harmful interference to any new 600 MHz wireless licensee’s operations.
After July 13, 2020, wireless microphone operations are permitted on certain 600 MHz frequencies outside of where 600 MHz wireless licensees operate. Specifically, licensed wireless microphone users may operate on the specific frequencies in the 600 MHz duplex gap (653-657 MHz), and unlicensed wireless microphone users may operate on a portion of the 600 MHz guard band (614-616 MHz) or a portion of the 600 MHz duplex gap (657-663 MHz).
Affected Wireless Microphones:
To determine whether the transition affects the continued use of your microphones, you will need to know the specific frequencies that are used. Contacting the manufacturer may be the most effective way of determining whether a particular wireless microphone is affected by the transition and may need to be modified or replaced. Additionally, information on the frequencies used maybe be provided in the user manual of the particular model.
FCC Consumer Alert:
Anyone selling or leasing a wireless microphone or other device designed to operate in the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz frequencies must provide the following disclosure to consumers:
“This particular wireless microphone device operates in portions of the 617-652 MHz or 663-698 MHz frequencies. Beginning in 2017, these frequencies are being transitioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the 600 MHz service to meet increasing demand for wireless broadband services. Users of this device must cease operating on these frequencies no later than July 13, 2020. In addition, users of this device may be required to cease operations earlier than that date if their operations could cause harmful interference to a 600 MHz service licensee’s wireless operations on these frequencies. For more information, visit the FCC’s wireless microphone website at www.fcc.gov/wireless-microphones-guide or call the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC).”
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Disclaimer: Every situation is different and particular facts may vary thereby changing or altering a possible course of action or conclusion. The information contained herein is intended to be general in nature as laws vary between federal, state, counties, and municipalities and therefore may not apply to any given matter. This information is not intended to be legal advice or relied upon as a legal opinion, course of action, accounting, tax or other professional service. You should consult the proper legal or professional advisor knowledgeable in the area that pertains to your particular situation.