The FCC’s decision came two years after a complaint filed by consumer groups accused many users of wireless microphones of unwittingly violating FCC rules that require government licenses for the devices.
In the complaint, the groups accused manufacturers such as Shure Inc. of Niles, Ill., of deceptive advertising in the way they market and sell high-end wireless microphones to people who are not legally permitted to use them. (See “Filing amplifies concerns over wireless mics.”)
Many of the most common suppliers of wireless microphones and sound amplification systems to schools, such as Anchor Audio, Audio Enhancement, Califone, Calypso Systems, and Extron Electronics, do not appear on the FCC’s list. One company that does is Shure, which says on its web site that it will provide rebates of up to $1,000 for each new wireless system purchased when a 700 MHz system is returned.
Harris said a more public notice will be needed to grab wireless microphone users’ attention in the coming months.
The FCC is “leaving it up to you to know these things are magically changing,” he said, adding that the economic downturn could be a barrier for schools that need to buy or adjust microphones to fit federal rules.
The FCC held an auction last year to sell off parts of the 700 MHz band. Verizon paid more than $9 billion for part of the band, and AT&T paid $6.6 billion.
FCC’s wireless microphone guidelines