FCC Finally Starts
FCC Finally Starts
Yesterday FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order in Docket 08-166 dealing with the wireless microphone issue. [Washington Post article.]
The gist of the document is given below:
"2. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order (“Notice and Order”), we consider broadcast low power auxiliary stations, which have been permitted to operate on TV Channels 52-69 in the 700 MHz Band, as well as in several other bands, on a secondary non-interference basis. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) below, we tentatively conclude to amend our rules to make clear that the operation of low power auxiliary stations within the 700 MHz Band will no longer be permitted after the end of the DTV transition because such operations could cause harmful interference to new public safety and commercial wireless services in the band. We also tentatively conclude to prohibit the manufacture, import, sale, offer for sale, or shipment of devices that operate as low power auxiliary stations in the 700 MHz Band. In addition, for those licensees that have obtained authorizations to operate low power auxiliary stations in spectrum that includes the 700 MHz Band beyond the end of the DTV transition, we tentatively conclude that we will modify these licenses so as not to permit such operations in the 700 MHz Band after February 17, 2009. We also seek comment on issues raised by the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC) in its informal complaint and petition for rulemaking (“PISC Petition” or “Petition”).
3. In the meantime, in the Order below, we impose a freeze, effective upon release of this Order, on the filing of new license applications that seek to operate on any 700 MHz Band frequencies (698-806 MHz) after the end of the DTV transition, February 17, 2009. In addition, we impose a freeze on granting any request for equipment authorization of low power auxiliary station devices that would operate in any of the 700 MHz Band frequencies. We also hold in abeyance, until the conclusion of this proceeding, any pending license applications and equipment authorization requests that involve operation of low power auxiliary devices on frequencies in the 700 MHz Band after the end of the DTV transition.
22. We seek comment on the various elements found in PISC’s Petition, particularly to the extent that we are not addressing those elements elsewhere in this Notice and Order. We note that the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has initiated an investigation relating to the marketing practices of various manufacturers of wireless microphones. "
So almost 7 months after the start of the 700 MHz auction that produced income of $19 billion, FCC is finally getting around to kicking the wireless microphones out of the band they have sold to others for use starting in 2/09, less than 6 months from now.
But don't expect immediate action. The NPRM only proposes to stop legal use of channels 52-69 for wireless microphones. But since most use is already illegal the real impact is questionable. It proposes to stop approving new models and freezes all pending applications for equipment authorization, but previously approved models can be imported and sold by the thousands pending further action.
As quoted above, it also announces the opening of an investigation into the marketing practices of the wireless microphone manufacturers.
It does not raise the issue of innovative approaches to serving the legitimate needs of wireless microphone users such as:
- new technology like the Sony digital wireless microphone sold in the UK or
- the Audio-Technica UWB wireless microphone
- using a coordinator/band manager for all wireless use who has the incentive to find ways to use spectrum more efficiently as the FCC's UK counterpart, Ofcom, has done
- or access to sharing new bands, as Europe is considering for L band.