Finally—A 700 MHz Decision; The End Is Near

Late last week, the FCC finally issued an order regarding the migration out of the 700 MHZ spectrum. All ad hoc use (wireless mics, DMX, data, etc.) must cease no later than June 12, 2010. From Shure.com

The order applies to all wireless system users regardless of whether the user holds an FCC license. The order also requires microphone users to cease operations in specified 700 MHz frequencies within 60 days upon receipt of a notice from a wireless carrier or public safety entity authorized to use the spectrum, or, alternatively, within 60 days of the release of an FCC Public Notice specifying that certain 700 MHz frequencies are no longer available for wireless system use in a particular market.

No word yet on what fines may be levied if you're caught operating equipment in that band. However, if a telemarketer calls you after you tell them to remove you from their list, it's a $10,000 fine. Per call. The FCC doesn't normally mess around with that stuff.

So what does that mean for churches with 700 MHz wireless mics? You have to replace them. It's no longer a grey area. For pastors and executive pastors who have been telling their tech guys not to worry about it, it's time to take action. The last thing we need as the Church is to start reading about local churches getting fined because they didn't want to replace their illegal equipment.

It's not all bad news, however. Shure has extended the rebate period through June 30, 2010. Folks, the time to act is now. Don't be the first church in your area to receive a cease and desist order. It's never going to be less expensive to replace the equipment.

No word yet on whether Sennheiser will be running an extended rebate program for the final push to vacate 700 MHz. I have a call into my contact there to find out; I'll update this as soon as I know something for sure.

UPDATE: 1/19/10, 2:15 PST. Sennheiser extends their rebate program to run through June 30, 2010. More details can be found on their website, sennheiserusa.com or on this rebate form. Thanks to Chris Phillips for the last minute intel.