700 MHz clearance: the Sennheiser Survival Guide
The 700 MHz band is to be cleared in the UK by May 2020 and any compensation claims must be submitted before April 26, 2019. Sennheiser explains how to prepare and claim compensation.
Since 2012, 40% of the available UHF spectrum has been lost, with more set to be lost in the coming months as mobile network operators buy up more of the remaining spectrum, leaving less for wireless microphone and IEM equipment.
The UK Government announced that it intends to clear the 700MHz band by 1 May 2020, meaning audio engineers will need to work harder and smarter to meet production demands as some equipment becomes non-compliant, or more difficult to configure and operate.
Owners of 700 MHz wireless microphone owners will need to register and submit their claims before April 26th 2019.
The 700 MHz clearance is now fully underway in the UK, and to support its customers Sennheiser has created a number of materials which go into more detail about the process, who is affected and who's eligible for funding.
But there is good news for 700 MHz microphone users, with Sennheiser offering customer support materials for users of its 700 MHz microphones.
Sennheiser has produced a detailed brochure to help its customers navigate the clearance and has provided an RF Health Check tool – a two minute online test for wireless mic users, www.sennheiser.com/stayheard to check their operating frequencies to see if they are legal, require an Ofcom license or are eligible for funding.
The site has been designed to be accessible for users with and without wireless microphone knowledge to determine if they are affected or not.
Sennheiser UK dealers also received a comprehensive RF spectrum update document earlier in the year, available on request from Sennheiser representatives or dealers.
The UK Government has also put a compensation scheme in place for anyone who owns Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) equipment that relies on the 700 MHz band.
The scheme, called the Digital Dividend scheme allows for the offset of costs of new equipment by claiming at least 60% back against newer equipment, with an additional 10% in administration charges against the total claim value.
Users will be eligible for compensation if:
. The user held a license in the 700 MHz band between 17 October 2014 and 23 August or can prove their rental business is dry hire only, not requiring a license;
. The user is claiming for equipment that belongs to them;
. The user is claiming for equipment that is still in working order;
. The equipment was purchased before 23rd August 2018;
. The user is claiming for equipment with at least some of its range in the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz).
If the user’s equipment doesn’t operate in the 700 MHz frequency, there is still a chance that they could be affected.
As the 700 MHz frequency is cleared, more people will switch over to the remaining spectrum, meaning some equipment will tune across usable and non-usable frequencies, restraining the tuning range. If a user’s equipment falls into this category, they could also be entitled to compensation.
But, 700 MHz wireless microphone owners need to register and submit their claims before April 26, 2019 (when the Ofcom pmsefunding.co.uk registration closes). After that date no funding claims will be accepted.
The Ofcom compensation portal is live and claims can be submitted at www.pmsefunding.co.uk.