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Important changes are happening to wireless audio transmitters which take will effect from 1 January 2015. This fact sheet provides everything you need to know about the changes and what you can do to prepare.
Who uses wireless audio transmitters?
Wireless audio transmitters—for example, wireless microphones, in-ear monitoring systems, public announcement systems and musical pick-ups—are used by a wide range of industry professionals and venues, including:
- performing arts organisations
- concert promoters and festival organisers
- event managers and planners
- musicians and music venues
- convention centres and venues for hire
- public transport providers
- large-scale sporting events
- television and radio broadcasters.
What’s changing and why?
Many wireless audio transmitters currently operate in the spectrum located at frequency range 694–820 MHz. But from 1 January 2015, you must not use these devices in this range.
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). 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 audio transmitters—must use a different range from 1 January 2015.
The ACMA is working with community and industry groups now so that they can start planning for the change.
What do I need to do?
Before 1 January 2015, you need to check if you can retune your wireless audio transmitters to use a different frequency range. The range available in your area will depend on television broadcasting arrangements, which are changing and can vary in different locations.
Check your user manual or contact your supplier to find out if your wireless audio transmitter can be retuned so that it operates in a different frequency range. If it can’t be retuned, you’ll need to buy new equipment—but make sure that any new device you purchase does not operate in 694–820 MHz.
What frequency ranges can I use instead?
The main frequency ranges that can be used to operate wireless audio transmitters from 1 January 2015 are 520–694 MHz and 1790–1800 MHz. A full list of other available frequency ranges is on the ACMA’s website.
How does ‘restack’ affect what spectrum is available below 694 MHz?
Digital television services currently use spectrum in the digital dividend and are also moving to a different frequency range by 31 December 2014. These television services are being ‘restacked’ below 694 MHz.
The government’s intention is that restack will be completed by 31 December 2014. The restack channel chart and timetable set out where and when digital television services will be restacked across Australia. This information should enable wireless audio transmitter users to determine what spectrum below 694 MHz will be available in a given area.
Some suppliers of wireless audio transmitters also have other resources to help you find out what spectrum is available, given your area and chosen transmitter.
What happens if I continue to use wireless audio transmitters in the digital dividend after 31 December 2014?
The ACMA will continue our education and compliance activities after 31 December 2014, to ensure that wireless audio transmitters are no longer being used in the digital dividend. This work will form part of the ACMA’s prioritised compliance activities.
What should I do with my old wireless equipment?
Planet Ark’s Recycling near you website can identify your nearest electronic waste disposal service.
What laws govern the use of wireless audio transmitters?
Anyone using a wireless audio transmitter is bound by the rules set out in the Low Interference Potential Devices (LIPD) Class Licence.
As LIPD class licensees don’t have to pay fees to use the spectrum, they operate on a ‘no interference’ and ‘no protection’ basis. Users must ensure that their devices don’t cause interference to other radiocommunications devices. They also have no protection from interference or changes that may affect them.
The LIPD class licence also sets out what spectrum can be used for wireless audio transmitters.
Where can I go for more information?
- Contact your supplier with questions about your specific wireless audio transmitter—they can advise the most suitable frequency range for your location.
- Subscribe to our free monthly e-bulletin, visit the wireless microphones hub on our website or send us your questions to email@example.com.