Mic check: Businesses have six months to switch off outlawed wireless microphones

Mic check: Businesses have six months to switch off outlawed wireless microphones

Small businesses now have a little over six months to replace wireless microphones and public announcement systems outlawed by frequency changes introduced as part of the analogue TV shutdown.

From January 1 2015, it will be illegal to use wireless microphones, in-ear monitoring systems, speakers and PA systems that transmit on the 694-820 MHz frequency range.

Affected equipment is used by small business in a range of industries, from conference and function centres to gyms, sporting events, university lectures, tourism services, retail promotions and real estate auctions.

The main alternative frequencies for wireless equipment are in the 520-694 MHz and 1790-1800 MHz frequency bands, with equipment using the former needing to be checked for TV or radio interference.

Equipment using these alternative frequency ranges does not need to be replaced, so owners should check the frequency their equipment uses.

In a statement, ACMA said the changes were introduced by the previous government as part of the analogue TV shutdown Digital Dividend.

“Spectrum is a valuable public asset that is used for a range of purposes; for example, mobile phones, television channels and wireless audio transmitters. Spectrum is divided into frequency ranges called megahertz (MHz),” said ACMA.

“Unlike other users of spectrum, users of wireless audio transmitters don’t pay any fees or ongoing charges to use the spectrum. In 2010, the government declared the 694 – 820 MHz frequency range as the ‘digital dividend’, to be used for new communication services from 1 January 2015.”

“This means that devices currently operating in this frequency—such as wireless microphones—must use a different range from 1 January 2015.”

Sennheiser Australia product manager James Waldron told SmartCompany all small business owners need to check their equipment.

“Not every PA system is affected by this,” says Waldron. “Some, sold over the past few years, will continue to be legal. Major brands have only shipped equipment in the appropriate bands over the past few years.”

Waldron urges small business owners to check their wireless microphones ahead of January 1.

“There should be a label on the product saying what frequency it uses… The easiest way is to contact your supplier or dealer,” says Waldron.

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