WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission has adopted new rules that the commission says will “address the long-term needs of wireless microphone users.” Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai voted in favor of the Report & Order (FCC 15-100), while Commissioner O’Rielly dissented in part.
Most wireless microphones today operate on unused spectrum in the frequencies currently allocated for TV broadcasting, but wireless microphones also operate in other bands, both on a licensed and unlicensed basis, depending on the particular band. However, following the incentive auction, there is concern that there may be fewer frequencies in the television bands available for use by wireless mic operations.
The rules provide continued access to the 600 MHz band and also expand access to other bands. The rules also “provide new opportunities for these licensed wireless microphones to operate on a secondary basis in three additional spectrum bands, consistent with the commission’s spectrum management goals — (1) access to significantly more spectrum in the 900 MHz band; (2) access to a portion of the 1435–1525 MHz band at specified times and places, subject to coordination requirements that protect critical aeronautical mobile telemetry; and (3) access to portions of the 6875-7125 MHz band.
Additionally, the new rules enable greater use of the VHF channels and permitting co-channel operations inside DTV contours without coordination if TV signals fall below specified threshold; and expand eligibility for licensed use of the 4-megahertz portion of the 600 MHz duplex gap to include all licensed users in the TV bands (broadcasters, cable programming networks, movie studios and operators at major sporting/concerts/theater venues).