Washington, D.C. (July 19, 2017)—Sennheiser is applauding the Federal Communications Commission’s Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, ratified on July 13, 2017.
"We sincerely applaud the FCC staff for their work and due consideration on this Order and proposed rulemaking,” says Joe Ciaudelli, director of U.S. Spectrum Affairs for Sennheiser. “This represents a very positive outcome for our customers and all professional wireless microphone users. Clearly the FCC listened to the needs of the professional production community and worked hard to provide a solution."
The Order on Reconsideration is wide-ranging and affects several key provisions of the guidelines passed in August of 2015.
With the ratification, the FCC has now adopted the established European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ESTI) out-of-band emissions 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.
In the Future Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission states its intention to expand license eligibility, allowing many organizations that stage sophisticated productions but do not qualify for an FCC license under current rules the ability to obtain a license. Sennheiser had submitted a timely filing in response to an opposing party, illustrating that the ability to reserve “white space” frequencies for professional wireless use is integral to effective operation of wireless microphone systems in real-world applications.
A provision that would have required the exclusive use of proprietary connectors for unlicensed wireless equipment with detachable antennas has been modified by the Order to allow the use of standard connectors. The Order also provides design flexibility for wireless gear manufacturers by allowing the output power of wireless devices to be measured either as effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) or conducted power at the output at the antenna terminal.
The Order also addresses concerns regarding specific bands and their applications. The specified frequencies of the 169-172 MHz band have now been optimally coordinated for microphone use, allowing more mics to operate in this band. The Commission specifically adopted a proposal by Sennheiser for optimal frequency coordination within this band.
The Commission clarified that the 30 MHz spectrum use limit in the 1435-1525 MHz band pertains to a single operator. Multiple authorizations that, in total, utilize the full 90 MHz may be assigned to different operations within an area. A single operator that requires more than 30 MHz for a mega-event can apply for a special temporary authorization (STA).
The Order also prescribes the procedure for use of the 941.5-944 MHz band, which can be useful for fixed venues such as Broadway theaters and casinos requiring house wireless microphones on distinct frequencies from those utilized by touring acts. Users will need to confer with a local Society of Broadcast Engineers coordinator and apply for a license with the FCC, which will coordinate with incumbent Federal primary users of the band.