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 The Federal Communications Commission Expands Opportunities for Wireless Microphone Users


WASHINGTON, January 25, 2024—The Federal Communications Commission Expands Opportunities for Wireless Microphone UsersIn this Report and Order, we revise the technical rules for Part 74 low-power auxiliary station (LPAS) devices to permit a recently developed type of wireless microphone system,[1] termed herein as a Wireless Multichannel Audio System (WMAS), to operate in the broadcast television (TV) bands and other Part 74 LPAS frequency bands on a licensed basis.  Wireless microphones play a vital role in the entertainment and news industries as well as at educational institutions, houses of worship, conventions and anywhere large numbers of people gather. This emerging technology will enable more wireless microphones to operate in the spectrum available for wireless microphone operations, and thus advance an important Commission goal to promote efficient spectrum use.  We adopt technical rules for licensed WMAS operations in specific frequency bands under our Part 74 LPAS rules and also permit WMAS to operate on an unlicensed basis under the Part 15 rules in the TV bands and 600 MHz duplex gap.  We update our existing Part 74 LPAS and Part 15 technical rules for wireless microphones, which already rely on certain European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standards, to incorporate the latest version of that standard where appropriate.[1]  Finally, we update the wireless microphone rules to reflect the end of the post-Incentive Auction transition period. Our goal in this proceeding is to increase wireless microphone spectral efficiency and enable more intensive use in the spectrum available for such operations.  We do not intend to alter the existing spectrum rights—or expectations regarding spectrum access and availability—vis-à-vis all the various authorized users, whether broadcast licensees, white space device users, the wireless microphone users themselves, or others, that share frequency bands with wireless microphones.
[1] 47 CFR §§ 74.861, 15.236.
[1] When we use the term “wireless microphones” in this proceeding, we collectively refer to wireless microphones and related wireless audio devices, such as cue and control communications, synchronization of TV camera signals, and in-ear monitors, as the Commission has in other proceedings concerning these devices.  See, e.g., Promoting Spectrum Access for Wireless Microphone Operations; Expanding the Economic and Innovation Opportunities of Spectrum Through Incentive Auctions, GN Docket Nos. 14-166, 12-268, Report and Order, 30 FCC Rcd 8739, 8740, para. 1 n.1 (2015) (Wireless Microphones R&O).


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