By Dan Daley ~ Source: InfoComm International®
You’re sitting in the dentist’s chair, but just before he steps on the pedal to start drilling, he says, “I need to change out this bit; it’ll just take a couple of minutes.” You’re slightly relieved that the pain’s been be delayed, but you know full well that sooner or later, it’s going to hurt — and you may not know how much until it’s over.
That’s kind of what wireless pro audio users and manufacturers have been going through for the past year. The Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum incentive auction — a reverse auction that will pay broadcasters to vacate their wireless channels from funds generated by a regular auction in which companies like AT&T, Verizon and Google will bid for that soon-to-be-vacated airwaves — has been pushed back to sometime in 2016, from mid-2015. It’s the second such delay for this event. The actual amount of spectrum that will be reallocated — and exactly which frequency bands — won’t be known until the auction is completed.
This most recent delay was precipitated by a lawsuit from the National Association of Broadcasters, which asserts the auction will hurt stations that choose to keep the spectrum they license. Broadcasters represent one of many stakeholder communities interested in the outcome.
But the outcome for live-event production is intertwined with that of broadcasters asked to give up their airwaves. That’s because professional wireless microphones transmit in locally vacant TV channels, commonly referred to as white space channels, primarily in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) range. And not knowing what to expect has many expecting the worst.