Churches Must Update Wireless Sound System as Federal Government Phases Out 600MHz Frequencies

Churches that haven’t updated their wireless sound system may have trouble being heard on any given Sunday, as the federal government is phasing out the 600MHz frequencies many congregations use.

The Federal Communications Commission will complete the transition of the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz spectrum bands from wireless microphones and television broadcasts by July 13, 2020, but the transition began in 2017.
The frequencies are being transitioned to wireless communicators such as cellphone companies to meet industry demand, and will become unavailable for use by wireless mic systems by the 2020 deadline or earlier, according to the FCC.

Violators could face fines or additional criminal penalties, the FCC reported.

T-Mobile bought 45 percent of the available 600MHz spectrum during a 2017 auction when the transition began, the company announced, with a purchase price of $7.99 billion.

Churches that haven’t updated their wireless sound systems in recent years are more vulnerable to sound system failure, LifeWay Christian Resources’ Mike Harland told Baptist Press.

“Where it would impact churches is if they have wireless equipment that may be a few years old, and not be aware that it falls into those categories that have been discontinued and not available,” said Harland, director of LifeWay Worship. “If they’re not aware of that, they could actually walk out on Sunday and nothing work, and they may not know why.”

Frequency information should be recorded on a mic’s receiver or within the mic’s battery compartment, Harland said.

“If they’ve bought something recently, this is very likely not an issue,” he said, “but if it’s something they’ve had a number of years, they would want to check that ahead of time.”

Many systems can be reconfigured to a legal operating frequency, according to industry insider Worship Facilities.com. In addition to churches, other industries likely affected by the FCC change include local theaters, schools, conference centers and sports stadiums.

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Source: Baptist Press