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FCC Boots Wireless Mics From 700 MHz Band

Users have until June 12 to retune

WASHINGTON: The FCC has prohibited the further distribution and sale of devices that operate in the 700 MHz band, which is being cleared for public safety and 4G consumer communications gear.

Spectrum in the 700 MHz band was auctioned to several wireless service providers following the June 12, 2009 DTV transition. The FCC’s Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will mostly affect wireless microphones.

“These unlicensed devices cannot continue to operate in this band because they may cause harmful interference to public safety entities and next generation consumers devices that will be utilizing the 700 MHz frequency,” the commission said. “Thus, the commission is making clear that no devices utilizing this frequency may be sold or distributed”

A sunset period running through mid-June was provided for those currently using 700 MHz wireless mics. As of June 12, 2010, one year after the DTV transition, use of those mics will be prohibited.

The FCC said it was initiating an “aggressive consumer outreach plan” for folks who may not know if they’re system is compliant, or if it might be retuned to another frequency. The related Web site is at

Shure, the Niles, Ill., mic manufacturer, has been preparing its customers for the band-clearing for months. The company first fought the FCC’s effort to remove mics from the 700 MHz band, then offered a rebate program on its own 700 MHz systems as well as those made by certain other manufacturers. That program originally ended Dec. 31 but has since been extended to June 30, 2010 (See “Shure Extends 700 MHz Rebate Program). — Deborah D. McAdams