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Sennheiser Petitions FCC to Compensate Wireless Mics Owners

Says spectrum auction jeopardizes use of wireless mic operating in 600 MHz range

OLD LYME, CONN.— Audio specialist Sennheiser recently filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending 2014 spectrum auction.

The company says the auction jeopardizes the future use of wireless microphones and monitors operating in the 600 MHz range, will force many U.S.-based content creators to attempt to stage their shows using about half of the currently available UHF spectrum.

In the document filed Nov. 4, Sennheiser says that the winners of the spectrum auction should compensate owners of equipment that will be rendered obsolete after the repacking.

Joe Ciaudelli of Sennheiser’s spectrum affairs, summarized his position: “While adverse effects of the spectrum repacking will inevitably occur, simple fairness says that the auction winners who will derive revenue from the auctioned spectrum should provide compensation.”

So far, the FCC has not announced plans to compensate wireless mic owners.

“The A/V professionals that produce this content, which is enjoyed by both domestic and international consumers, depend on the 600 MHz frequency spectrum each day. Now they are being told that they must vacate this UHF space, and with no contingency or recourse to recover their equipment investments,” said Ciaudelli. “This is grossly unfair, especially considering that this will be the second time this has occurred within a few years. This time mics and monitors won’t be able to simply be relocated into lower portions of the UHF because it is already packed with replacement mics for ones rendered obsolete by the 700 MHz reallocation. TV stations currently operating in 600 MHz will also be relocated to lower channels, exacerbating the congestion.”

The repacking increases congestion in the 500 MHz frequency range and also places technical demands on both the equipment and operators working in this space.

The FCC has also received letters of support for Sennheiser’s position from companies including Shure, Audio Technica, Lectrosonics, and CP Communications.

Ciaudelli says Sennheiser encourages others to express their opinion to the FCC.