License Eligibility Expanded for Wireless Microphones

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The FCC has expanded licensing eligibility for certain classes of wireless microphone users, thereby allowing such users to receive interference protection from unlicensed white spaces devices that operate in the same frequency bands.  Traditionally, eligibility for wireless microphone licenses has been limited to broadcasters, cable television operators and certain motion picture productions.  However, unlicensed wireless microphone use has also grown exponentially as houses of worship, Broadway theaters, entertainers, and businesses have incorporated wireless microphones into their activities. Given that the amount of spectrum available for wireless microphones will be reduced substantially as broadcast spectrum is reclaimed and auctioned for commercial wireless voice and data services, the Commission’s action is designed to ensure that certain wireless microphone activities will continue to have priority use of the remaining spectrum that is shared with unlicensed users.  The Commission’s new rules will expand licensing eligibility to include professional sound companies and venues that routinely use 50 or more wireless microphones and where the use of wireless microphones is an integral part of the major productions or events they host.   These rule changes would for the first time expand licensing eligibility to venues such as the Broadway theater district and events such as Cirque du Soleil.

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