Production Sound & Video

Fall 2017

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by Daron James 26 What part of the 600 MHz Band Plan is usable? The 600 MHz band is comprised of four parts: a Guard Band (614 MHz-617 MHz), a Downlink Band (617 MHz-652 MHz), a Duplex Gap (652 MHz-663 MHz) and an Uplink Band (663 MHz-698 MHz). Currently taking place is a ten-phase transition period that ends in July 13, 2020. After July 13, 2020, wireless devices will be restricted to operating only in the Guard Band (614 MHz-617 MHz) and Duplex Gap (652 MHz-663 MHz). Are there any additional restrictions operating in the Guard Band and Duplex Gap? Yes. The FCC has placed buffer, power limitations and license-type restrictions. Guard Band 614 MHz-616 MHz: 2 MHz (unlicensed operators) 616 MHz-617 MHz: 1 MHz buffer (unavailable for use) Duplex Gap 652 MHz-653 MHz: 1 MHz buffer (unavailable for use) 653 MHz-657 MHz: 4 MHz (exclusive to licensed operators) 657 MHz-663 MHz: 6 MHz (unlicensed and White Space Devices [WSD]) The Guard Band and Duplex Gap provide 12 MHz of spectrum. If you are a licensed operator, you have exclusivity in the Duplex Gap (653 MHz-657 MHz) and licensed users operating in this band must coordinate locally. Keep in mind, even if you are a licensed user, you will be considered unlicensed while operating in the Guard Band (614 MHz-616 MHz) or upper portion of the Duplex Gap (657 MHz-663 MHz). UNDERSTANDING the 600 MHz Auction If you're a Sound Engineer operating in the United States, you've probably heard about the recent Broadcast Incentive Auction held by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which will repurpose a portion of the UHF TV band. To help those working on set, in broadcast, venues, stadiums, houses of worship, theatres and others, we wanted to share the details of what you need to know about the transition going forward. What is the Broadcast Incentive Auction? The FCC held a two-phase auction which ended in March 2017. The portion of the UHF TV band directly impacted was the 600 MHz band or more precisely, 614 MHz-698 MHz (84 MHz). The FCC dubbed this initiative the "600 MHz Band Plan." The first phase was a "reverse auction" which gave television stations the opportunity to voluntarily relinquish their spectrum usage rights. This was followed by a "forward auction" that allowed mobile wireless and cable companies to place bids on the available spectrum. Afterward, the TV stations that will remain on air will be "repackaged" and assigned to new channels in the UHF TV band below 608 MHz. What is different from this auction and the 700 MHz band auction? Since 2010, the FCC prohibits the operation, manufacturing, import, sale, lease or shipment of wireless microphones and similar devices in the 700 MHz band (698 MHz-806 MHz). With the 600 MHz Band Plan, the FCC is allowing the operation and sales of wireless microphones and similar devices but with restrictions.

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