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Important changes are happening to wireless audio transmitters—including wireless microphones—which will take 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?
Many community groups and small businesses use wireless audio transmitters—such as wireless microphones, public announcement systems, in-ear monitoring systems and musical pick-ups—for a range of purposes, including:
- school assemblies and university lectures
- religious services
- theatre and live music performances
- sporting events and gym classes
- museum and tourist activities
- ceremonies and conferences.
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 microphones—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.
However, changes to television broadcasting arrangements may also affect what frequency range you can use in your area. Suppliers can advise you on the most suitable frequency range for your device, depending on where you plan to use it.
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 device—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 firstname.lastname@example.org.