Comments due **NOW** on FCC ruling

If there’s anything I know about rAVe readers, it’s that you all have opinions – and strong ones. Now is your chance to exercise those opinions and add comments to the FCC ruling that bans wireless microphone systems that operate in the 700 MHz band after June 12, 2010. The comment period is open until March 1, 2010. 

Microphone manufacturer Shure recently petitioned the FCC for more time. The result was that we got a whole extra week (Gee, FCC, thanks for the generosity…) and the deadline was moved from February 22 to March 1. Why did the audio community need this extension? Because there wasn’t really that many comments in regards to the ban.

So, let me make this simple. This ruling will have an impact on the entire wireless audio community, including wireless mic systems and assisted listening systems. That means churches/houses of worship, schools, corporations, sports arenas, theaters/performing arts spaces, meeting spaces, rental and staging, live events, and government agencies cannot use any wireless device that operates in this spectrum after June 12. We’re talking some big money to replace many systems that are currently installed.

To check if your system(s) is banned, the FCC has a handy list here. You’ll notice many big names on this list, as well as many systems listed. This ruling also boots the audio community over in the Wild West that is known as “Unlicensed use under Part 15” – sharing spectrum with unlicensed consumer services.

So what happens after June 12? Does your 700 MHz system magically stop working? No, but you’ll be interfering with a spectrum that is now reserved for police, fire and emergency services and for commercial providers of wireless services. And that interference means no more clean signal for you in addition to possible fines and penalties.

So please, PLEASE comment to the FCC. You can see other comments and submit yours here.

A sampling of comments include this one from St John’s United Methodist Church in Sarasota, Florida:

“We are currently operating up to 13 wireless microphones as well as wireless hearing assist devices for Sunday morning worship services, funerals, weddings, community concert events, community recital programs and high school musical programs. The community has come to rely heavily on our facilities for much more than worship. We record many of these events for distribution to shut-ins. We need to have clear, interference free operations to insure the quality of our programs, worship and recordings.”

And this excerpt from the comments submitted by the Texas State Senate:

“It is essential to our day-to-day operations that the wireless devices we use are protected from interference and that those devices are eligible for any necessary license. Throughout an average day in the Texas Senate, we employ the use of various wireless microphones, wireless assisted listening devices, wireless speakers, and wireless receivers for video production. These devices are critical in supplementing our installed audio and video systems.”

Need to know more about it before you comment? See the list of links below. Read up and then let your voice be heard!