FCC rule bans wireless mics in 700MHz range

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a rule Jan. 15 that phases out the use of wireless microphones operating in the 700MHz spectrum.

The FCC rule takes effect June 12, which is the one-year anniversary of the switch to digital television in the U.S.

Wide swaths of the 700MHz spectrum had been used for analog television signals, which are being relinquished by broadcast stations. Some of that spectrum is to be set aside for public safety communications and commercial purposes, such as wireless broadband Internet access.

The FCC has determined that “these unlicensed [wireless microphone] devices cannot continue to operate in this band because they may cause harmful interference.” Such products may no longer be sold or distributed after June 12.

The FCC has set up a Web page www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones at which users can find out which makes and models of wireless mics are affected by the order and whether their mics can be retuned to operate at another frequency.