For many of our venue professionals, the use of wireless microphones is a daily occurrence. Arenas, performing art centers, stadiums, convention centers, all use wireless to function. The recent changes in FCC regulations have brought into question whether there will be enough wireless bandwidth left for our venues to continue expanding programming and maintain the quality of service their patrons expect.
The bandwidth issue has its roots all the way back to the 1930’s when the Federal Communications Commission began to assign licenses for broadcast. Given the technology of the era, adjoining frequencies faced interference, so stations were separated across the dial, leaving unused bandwidth in between. These gaps were eventually filled through the use of wireless technology. Unfortunately for wireless users, when innovations like digital technology, mobile devices and broadband internet took hold, much of these open airwaves were targeted for use.
Now fast forward to 2013 and the FCC auction of the remaining bandwidth which threatened the availability for wireless networks. This August, a proposed Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act was presented to Congress. The proposed act will require the Federal Communications Commission to expand eligibility for part 74 licenses to certain wireless microphone users, to establish safe haven channels for wireless microphones, and to authorize access by owners and operators of wireless microphones to the TV bands databases for the purpose of protecting wireless microphone operations from interference. The act has supporters from across the venue industry including the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, and the Recording Academy; along with many industry associations including APAP, IAEE and IAVM.
Timothy Robinson the Senior Policy Counsel & Legislative Director in the office of Congressman Bobby L. Rush has asked IAVM to share this information with our members and encourage all affected venues to lend their voice of support for the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act. If you would like to join the movement with a bipartisan group of Members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee including Representative Pitts (PA-16), Lance (NJ-07), Olson (TX-22), Bilirakis (FL-12), Engel (NY-16), Green (TX-29), and Lujan (NM-03) contact Josh Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your venue can support this cause. Or you can weigh in directly with the FCC at http://www.fcc.gov/contact-us.
Image: Courtesy Flickr – Rick Webb