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FCC Frequently Asked Questions

Feb 3, 2010 4:37 PM, Provided by the FCC

Wireless microphones prohibited from operating in the 700MHz band


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Under a new FCC rule, anyone who uses a wireless microphone that operates in the 700MHz band must stop operating their wireless microphone by June 12, 2010.

All users of 700MHz band wireless microphones (and similar devices)—including theaters, churches, schools, conference centers, theme parks, and musicians—will need to retune (where possible) or replace their wireless microphone equipment with other microphone devices no later than June 12, 2010.

The following are the most commonly asked questions about the prohibition of using wireless microphones that operate in the 700MHz band after June 12, 2010.

Is the FCC prohibiting the use of all wireless microphones?
No. The FCC is only prohibiting the use after June 12, 2010 of wireless microphones that operate on frequencies between 698MHz and 806MHz, which is also known as the 700MHz band. You may continue to use wireless microphones that operate on other frequencies. Microphones with cords are not affected by the FCC’s decision.

Why is the FCC prohibiting the use of wireless microphones in the 700MHz band beginning June 12, 2010?
Certain wireless microphones have operated in frequencies that are needed for public safety. When these microphones were first designed, the frequencies they used were in between the frequencies that television stations used to broadcast television programs. With the completion of the digital television (DTV) transition on June 12, 2009, television stations no longer use the frequencies between 698MHz and 806MHz (the 700MHz band) for broadcast. These frequencies are now being used by public safety entities (such as police, fire, and emergency services) and by commercial providers of wireless services (such as wireless broadband services).

The wireless microphones that had been operating in the old TV broadcast channels can cause harmful interference to these public safety and wireless consumer services. Therefore, all users of wireless microphones (or certain low power auxiliary stations) that operate on any of the frequencies in the 700MHz band—including both licensed users (under Part 74) and unlicensed users—now have to stop operating in this band. The FCC is only prohibiting the use of wireless microphones that operate in the 700MHz band. You may continue to use wireless microphones that operate on other broadcast frequencies. Microphones with cords are not affected by the FCC’s decision.

How can I find out if my wireless microphone uses frequencies in the 700MHz band?
Some wireless microphones are marked with the frequency the device uses. If information on the device indicates that it operates on frequencies between 698MHz and 806MHz, then the device uses 700MHz spectrum and may not be used after June 12, 2010.

In addition, the FCC’s website provides information about which wireless microphones currently operate in the 700MHz band at www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones. Consumers may use this site to look up their equipment by manufacturer and determine if their particular equipment operates in the 700MHz band. The website also includes information about how to contact manufacturers about wireless microphone equipment at www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones/manufacturers.html. In addition, you may call the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) where staff will be able to help you determine if your equipment is affected.

When do I need to stop using my 700MHz band wireless microphone?
If your wireless microphone operates in frequencies between 698MHz and 806MHz (the 700MHz Band), you must stop using it no later than June 12, 2010. Furthermore, if your wireless microphone currently causes interference or will cause interference with a public safety or commercial wireless licensee, you may be required to stop using your wireless microphone earlier than June 12, 2010.

How will I know if I need to stop using my wireless microphone before June 12, 2010?
The FCC’s website has a list of markets where people must stop using their wireless microphones before June 12, 2010. The list includes information about whether you must stop using your wireless microphone immediately or if there is a specific date by which you must stop using your wireless microphone.

In addition, you may receive notice directly from a public safety organization or commercial wireless provider that it is going to begin using the 700MHz band frequencies in your area. If you receive this notice, you will need to stop using your wireless microphone. You will have 60 days from that notification to stop using your 700 MHz band wireless microphone.

If you are notified that your wireless microphone is currently causing interference with a public safety or commercial wireless licensee, you must stop using your wireless microphone immediately.

If my wireless microphone is licensed under Part 74 rules, can I continue using my 700MHz band wireless microphone after June 12, 2010?
No. Wireless microphones —licensed or unlicensed—may NOT operate in the 700MHz band after June 12, 2010.

What happens if I don’t stop using my 700MHz band wireless microphone?
Using the 700MHz band for a wireless microphone after June 12, 2010 could be extremely dangerous and could even be life threatening. Police and fire departments, and other public safety groups, use frequencies in the 700MHz band. Interference from wireless microphones can affect the ability of public safety groups to receive information over the air and respond to emergencies. Harmful interference to these communications could put you or public safety personnel in grave danger. In addition, use of your microphone can cause unlawful interference to consumer services provided using the 700MHz band. Failure to comply with this FCC requirement may lead to penalties.



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