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Wireless Mic Rules, Revamped

Wireless mic makers got the technical clarifications they were seeking from the FCC

WASHINGTON — Wireless mic makers got the technical clarifications they were seeking from the Federal Communications Commission today, which approved two actions further defining operational parameters for the devices.

“We sincerely applaud the FCC staff for their work and due consideration on this order and proposed rulemaking,” Joe Ciaudelli, director of U.S. Spectrum Affairs for Sennheiser, said in a statement “This represents a very positive outcome for our customers and all professional wireless microphone users.”

The commissioners unanimously approved an Order on Reconsideration that addresses petitions filed by Audio-Technica, Sennheiser, Lectrosonics and Shure to reconsider two, 2015 commission orders. The Reconsideration addresses emissions as well as coordination and access to spectrum in certain bands.

A separate Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would give unlicensed wireless mic operations, e.g., “professional theater, music, performing arts and similar organizations” the opportunity to obtain licensed access for smaller venue productions, in certain circumstances.

Neither the Order on Reconsideration nor the FNPFM were published as of press time, butTV Technology’s previous report on the issue was based on the draft proposal circulated among the commissioners before Thursday vote.

Here’s more from Sennheiser: “Having considered the thorough and relentless input of wireless microphone specialist Sennheiser and many others in the audio community, the FCC ruling modifies initial guidelines that may have negatively impacted manufacturers, owners and operators of wireless microphone equipment in their original form.

“The Order on Reconsideration is wide-ranging and affects several key provisions of the guidelines passed in August of 2015. …The commission had initially created an out-of-band emission standard that might have resulted in unintended consequences. With the ratification, the FCC has now adopted the established European Telecommunications Standards Institute OOBE standard, which achieves the intended goal of protecting the use of adjacent frequency bands and harmonizes with international standards, allowing users to operate the same equipment in multiple countries in many cases.

“Additionally, the Order will enable legacy equipment that operates within the 600 MHz band to be modified to comply with the new regulations, saving a significant amount of still operational wireless gear from costly premature obsolescence following the transition period.”

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