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New frequency allocation to jeopardize wireless stage technology

More than one million wireless microphones are in use in Germany alone. Without them and the freedom of movement they provide, it would be hard to imagine a lot of shows, musicals, concerts, plays, live reports and sports events we currently enjoy. Wireless freedom on stage is in jeopardy because the UHF frequencies used for these applications are claimed by telecommunications companies, who want to buy the spectrum for wireless services such as DVB-H and wireless Internet. In early September 2007 the German Electrical Industry Association (ZVEI) organised a conference that focused on wireless microphones as secondary users of the RF spectrum. Broadcast and event industries hope this conference will be another step towards safeguarding the availability of transmission frequencies for wireless microphones.
The ZVEI convention was attended by representatives from Germany’s most important user groups: the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Federal Network Agency, public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, the State Media Authorities of broadcasters BR, HR, RBB, NDR and WDR, the Broadcast Technology Institute (IRT), private radio and TV producers, the German Tonmeister Association (VDT), the Professional Lighting and Sound Association of Germany (VPLT) and many more. Also present were universities, production companies, rental companies and manufacturers of wireless microphone systems.
“Wireless microphones have already lost valuable spectrum because of the introduction of digital terrestrial TV,“ explained Volker Bartels, Speaker for the Executive Team of Sennheiser. “If the plans for a further sell-off of the frequency spectrum become reality, professional users, broadcasters and public institutions will have to face a flood of new investments, as their existing systems will not be usable any more. If the worst comes to the worst, we would have to resort to wired microphones, which is unimaginable for stage shows, musicals and live reports.”
Once again, the conference participants underlined that wireless microphones are an indispensable front-end for today’s media productions. Every day, a multitude of cultural events are made possible by wireless technology, stage shows, music events, newscasts and live documentaries. All representatives called for a spectrum guarantee to ensure the continued operation of existing wireless microphones, wireless monitoring systems and talkback systems. Additionally it was agreed that the spectrum planning should cater for the major improvements in audio transmission quality that new formats such as HDTV will bring.
During the conference, a joint declaration was adopted to give politicians facts and arguments for securing sufficient frequency spectrum. “Having reached a consensus for all user groups and calling for the governments to take our demands into consideration, is an important step towards saving transmission frequencies,” declared Volker Bartels. “By acting together, it will be easier to reach our common goal.”
In November, Geneva will host the World Radio Conference, which will be discussing worldwide frequency allocation — the ZVEI’s position will be part of the debate.
© 09/2007 Pro-Music-News
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