FCC CHANGES TO AFFECT WIRELESS MICROPHONES

In May of 2016, the FCC began a multistage process of auctioning off the 600 MHz spectrum of UHF TV stations where many wireless microphones operate. The process was completed in March of 2017 with T-Mobile purchasing the spectrum.

We want to let all our customers know about the coming changes affecting wireless microphones. Because of the FCC Spectrum auction, existing wireless microphones operating between 618-698 MHz will be illegal to operate after July 13, 2020. Wireless microphone owners will need to avoid interference from new services and TV broadcasts during the transition.

Question & Answers

Here are some common questions & answers regarding the wireless changes.

Q: Can’t I wait until 2020 to worry about all this?

A: The reallocation has begun now! T-Mobile has announced that it is beginning to test and deploy new “5G” services on 600 MHz frequencies beginning now. It is the microphone owner’s responsibility to avoid interference with the new services during the transition period.

Q: I don’t have any wireless devices between 6-700 MHz so should I be concerned.

A: Yes! Existing TV stations will be re-packed down below 600 MHz, making the existing wireless space much tighter and more complicated to avoid interference from TV stations on existing wireless microphone systems.

Q: Will the FCC really care if I ignore the changes?

A: The FCC does not have the resources to track down every potential offender. However, the new owners of the wireless spectrum (T-Mobile) does have the resources and the motivation to protect its purchased spectrum. The FCC fine is $10,000 per incident. (Each violation)

“Once a new service commences operation, wireless microphones that operate between 617 -652 MHz & 663-698 MHz can no longer be used and will need to be replaced/retired within the next 39 months or sooner depending on the purchaser’s transition rate, to be in compliance with the law."

http://www.shure.com/americas/incentive-auction-resource-center

The frequencies in red above will be affected by the FCC’s 600MHz spectrum auction.

WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES DURING THIS CHANGE?

  • Plan to replace all existing wireless microphones operating above 617 MHz.
  • Consider replacing with “Digital” wireless microphones that need a much “smaller space” to operate than analog systems.
  • Consider that existing “safe” microphones work with any new systems.
  • Take advantage of the “Trade-In” rebate programs that many of our manufacturers are offering over the next year.
  • New purchases should be tuneable over a wide area for flexibility.
  • Remember this also affects wireless IEM devices. (In-Ear Monitor).

Below is a list of markets that will be affected and when, with the markets in alphabetical order. Some cities are listed twice because portions of cities may move at different phases. If your market is listed twice, then go with the earlier date.

March 30, 2017

Bidding in the auction closed, and the 616MHz–653MHz and 663MHz–698MHz bands were acquired by T-Mobile, Comcast, Dish Network, and several other telecommunications companies.

October 25, 2017

TV stations that relinquished their spectrum rights ceased all operations.

January 23, 2018

TV stations that relinquished their spectrum rights and entered into channel-sharing agreements ceased operating on their pre-auction channels. Channel-sharing agreements allow different stations to use the same broadcast frequency — it’s an efficient way to utilize bandwidth.

November 30, 2018

End of Phase 1 — Affected markets include

  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Fresno, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Salt Lake City, Nevada
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Tucson, Arizona

April 12, 2019

End of Phase 2 — Affected markets include

  • Bristol, Pennsylvania
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Houston, Texas
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Diego, California
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • West Palm Beach, Florida

June 21, 2019

End of Phase 3 — Affected markets include

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Flint, Michigan
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Antonio, Texas

August 2, 2019

End of Phase 4 — Affected markets include

  • Albany, New York
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • New York City, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Rochester, New York
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Washington, DC
  • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

September 6, 2019

End of Phase 5 — Affected markets include

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Richmond, Virginia

October 18, 2019

End of Phase 6 — Affected markets include

  • Charleston, West Virginia
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Paducah, Kentucky
  • South Bend, Indiana

January 17, 2020

End of Phase 7 — Affected markets include

  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Tampa, Florida

March 13, 2020

End of Phase 8 — Affected markets include

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Ft. Meyers, Florida
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Sacramento, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • Waco, Texas
  • Wichita, Kansas

May 1, 2020

End of Phase 9 — Affected markets include

  • Austin, Texas
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Champaign, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • McAllen, Texas
  • New York City, New York
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Paducah, Kentucky
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Sacramento, California
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • San Francisco, California
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Waco, Texas
  • Washington, DC
  • Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

July 3, 2020

End of Phase 10 — Affected markets include

  • Albany, New York
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Charleston, West Virginia
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Fresno, California
  • Ft. Meyers, Florida
  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • Shreveport, Louisiana

July 13, 2020

This is the final day of the spectrum reallocation. On this date, every wireless system that operates in the 616MHz to 698MHz band cannot be used legally in the US.

WHAT CAN VISIONWORX DO TO HELP?

We can begin with an evaluation of your existing wireless systems, then using the published FCC info for repacking the UHF TV stations in your area, we can recommend a plan for avoiding interference and future proofing your wireless during the transition. We can even perform an on-site to look for the best space to locate wireless microphones.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LIMITED-TIME TRADE-IN OFFERS!

We want you to know that Shure, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica are offering limited-time trade-in plans that allow you to buy a new system and return an eligible 600MHz wireless system for a rebate. If you need to replace your current wireless systems, now is the time to act while your old systems still have some value.

Call us at 904.998.7227 and ask for Eric Johnson to get started with a migration plan.

Apr 4th 2018 Doug Sass

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