On April 13, 2017, the FCC released a Report & Order detailing the results of the World’s first “Broadcast Incentive Auction”.  This begs the question: how long can users operate wireless gear in the affected spectrum? 

The FCC has mandated a 39 month transition period for broadcasters to vacation auctioned spectrum.  This transition period will run from April 13, 2017 until July 13, 2020. There are 10 phases in the transition with each TV station being assigned a phase.  The stations in the first phase must be transitioned by Nov 30, 2018. The stations in the last phase much be transitioned by July 7, 2020.

Stations that are going off-air must do so within 90 days after receiving its share of auction proceeds. Stations that will move to a channel-share must stop using its old channel within 180 days after it receives its share of auction proceeds. A total of 145 stations will be going off air. However, most of these stations have said they plan to strike spectrum sharing deals and continue in the business.

We strongly encourage wireless microphone users to take action and determine if their gear is operating in the affected spectrum. According to FCC rules, wireless microphones and personal monitors that are capable of operating in the auctioned UHF spectrum (616-653 MHz and 663-698 MHz) may not be used after the transition period. If a local mobile broadband licensee begins using the 600 MHz band prior to that date, the wireless user must change frequencies to avoid interfering with them.

Do you need to know if your wireless systems are affected?  This short video will tell you how.