FCC establishes June 12, 2010 as a “hard date” for wireless microphones and certain broadcast low power auxiliary operations to vacate 700 MHz spectrum. Some stations will have to move much sooner.
The FCC has released an Order further clearing the 700 MHz band of incumbent users to permit the new public safety and commercial users of those frequencies to complete construction and commence operations. The Order addresses use of the band by low power auxiliary stations intended for use as wireless microphones, cue and control communications, and synchronization of TV camera signals, and requires that such stations cease operations in the band by June 12, 2010. The FCC indicates that current users will need to move sooner than that if they either receive direct notice from new users of the spectrum that public safety or commercial wireless operations in the band will be commencing, or if the FCC releases a later Public Notice to that effect. The Order includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) in which the Commission proposes broad revisions to the rules governing low power auxiliary operations. Broadcasters that have been or contemplate operating low power auxiliary stations on an unlicensed basis may be able to secure greater interference protection by licensing their facilities instead. Comments on the FNPRM are due on February 22, 2010 and Reply Comments are due by March 15, 2010.