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A New Wrinkle In The White Space Debate








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Just when we thought the discussion regarding reallocation of wireless mic frequencies (known as the “white space debate”) was beginning to die down, the debate is heating up again.

Users of UHF  wireless microphoness are now mostly aware that mics designed to be used in the 700MHZ range of the broadcast spectrum were supposed to be retired in June of 2009 because the Federal Communications Commission has auctioned off that part of the spectrum for other uses.

Wireless users in pro audio and those users in major metro areas have mostly migrated to lower frequencies, some taking advantage of manufacturer rebates in the process.  Many users in smaller cities and rural areas have decided to stay with the microphoness they have while they wait to see what new users will show up in the 700 mHz range.

New initiatives by the FCC to allow unused spectrum between major television broadcasters in the impacted 700 MHZ range are intended to make these “buffer” frequencies available to bring wireless internet services to remote regions.Furthmore, the FCC is joining with the private sector to create databases of unused spectrum that could be made available for broadband. This could force those whose 700 MHZ wireless mics to abandon their strategy and upgrade.

Big players like Microsoft and Google are lobbying the FCC to allow them to repurpose this space without licensing it.  Since their transmissions would be much more powerful than low power wireless mics, they would quickly override the unlicensed wireless microphones that now use the same spectrum.How have you decided to handle wireless mic upgrades. 



Jeff Harrison

-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 jeff@wirelessmic.net

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