Bowing to pressure applied by the telecom giants who purchased access to the 700MHz broadcast spectrum, the FCC has announced a deadline of June 12, 2010 as the date when all wireless micrphones operating in this frequency range must stop operation.
This decision will impact thousands of users, primarily schools, churches, musicians and small theatre companies that have not been able to replace their wireless mics.
Broadway performances, major touring productions and large scale audio visual operations have been planning for this change for a while and have replaceD the majority of their 700 MHz equipment.
The deadline has been extended more than once, but this time it appears that the FCC will not put off the change again.
Their own website has declared:
OPERATION OF WIRELESS MICROPHONES IN THE 700 MHZ BAND
IS PROHIBITED AFTER JUNE 12, 2010
Making their statement in such strong and unequivocal language has made it clear that those who now control this part of the spectrum are bringing pressure to bear to insure that new wireless technologies and emergency services are not interrupted by unlicensed users.
Those who continue to ignore the deadline face the prospect that the companies line Verizon and Google that won exclusive access to the bandwidth that the FCC auctioned off will force the Commission to come down hard on users who continue to flaunt the law.
One positive twist on this story is that most major wireless mic manufacturers have extended their rebate programs into 2010 to take some of the sting out of the cost of upgrading.
You can continue to follow this discussion at our blog.
-Jeff Harrison is a sound person and special event producer who lives in works in Chapel Hill, NC. His most recent work includes producing professional school commencement exercises for the University of North Carolina.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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