Wireless microphones are in use across many businesses, with around 150,000 wireless microphone systems operating using the affected frequencies between 694MHz and 820MHz.
Some of these systems have been in place for years, but with changes to some digital TV broadcasts and the use of the 700MHz spectrum by Telstra for super-fast 4G mobile broadband services, wireless systems using the frequencies between 694MHz and 820MHz will be out of date and illegal from next year.
The owners of affected wireless mics include aerobics instructors, lecturers, karaoke operators, churches, school productions, quizmasters, restaurants, other small businesses and other community groups.
Unfortunately, many of these users purchased their wireless mics over the last few years, well before changes were planned, and are simply unaware that after December 2014 new Government regulations come into force.
Part of the reason for the change is due to the Australian Government making the changes to provide a dedicated range of frequencies for the use of authorised mobile phone networks to help meet the increased demand for mobile communications, alongside the changes from the transition from analogue to digital TV.
The change has been dubbed the “Digital Dividend”. It will be illegal to use wireless microphone and in ear monitor systems that only work in the ‘Digital Dividend’ frequency range. Equipment that operates outside of the ‘Digital Dividend’ frequency range but that operates on frequencies allocated to local TV broadcasters cannot be used either: it will be rendered inoperable through interference from the more powerful TV transmitters, and it is not allowed to impact the TV reception of consumers. You will need to buy new equipment in these cases.
Even if your equipment is compliant, it may need to be tuned to operate on acceptable frequencies.
If your microphone is affected and can’t be retuned, you will need to replace it with equipment that operates on approved frequencies, with complying models now widely available from a range of vendors.
Anyone who bought a wireless microphone system over the past couple of years should have been informed by the company they were purchasing from that new regulations were due to come into place from Jan 1 2015 onwards, but that might not have been the case for some online purchases from overseas or from unscrupulous vendors.
Sennheiser Australia is one vendor that is encouraging users to check their equipment, and is offering obligation-free advice to users to help them check if your equipment will be legal to use after January 2015, with the Company clearly hoping to sell more Sennheiser equipment to affected businesses.