It should come as no surprise that the FCC is finally shutting down the 700MHz spectrum for unlicensed use. For several years now, initially focused around the DTV transition, the FCC has been reallocating wireless frequency spectrums for digital television, new wireless Internet devices, and to make space for new and future technology. Earlier this year, the FCC announced that after June 12th, 2010, the use of any wireless device, whether it is a wireless mic, in-ear transmitter, comm, IFB, or any other type of device is prohibited. This is due to new emergency communication devices being implemented into the 700MHz spectrum. Therefore, if other devices are able to co-exhist in this wireless area, they may interfere with communications between police, fire, ambulance, etc.
This is definitely quite the inconvenience to churches and other venues across the country as now expensive equipment that is depended on is now going to be illegal, meaning one could face civil and/or criminal penalties if you continue to use offending gear. Many ask if the FCC is going to actively be policing or hunting for offenders – the answer is a guess of probably not, but a more likely scenario is the companies that they are selling the spectrum to probably will (such as AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, etc), and file complaints accordingly.
There is a glimmer of hope. Also earlier this year, the FCC said they were open to receiving comments on whether there would be interest for churches, theaters, and other venues or traveling artists to have the ability to obtain broadcast licensing for frequencies being used. This previously has only been reserved for television and radio stations. I submitted this letter to the FCC on behalf of Willow Creek pleading for this opportunity, so hopefully we will see some sort of development in this area as time progresses.
So it’s game time – shut down your gear, trade it in for a rebate if you still can, or maybe ship it out of the country to somebody who might be able to use it like these guys are doing (just make sure 700MHz isn’t illegal in their country too!).