To protect new wireless licenses in the 700 MHz band that were auctioned earlier this year for $19 billion, the FCC has launched rulemaking proceedings that would prohibit the manufacture, shipment, import and sale of low power auxiliary devices, including wireless microphones, in the 700 MHz band upon completion of the digital television (DTV) transition next February. Adopted unanimously by the FCC’s commissioners, the rulemaking notice responds to a complaint filed by the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition that points to deceptive marketing of wireless mics and unwitting illegal usage of wireless mics by Broadway stage shows, churches and other groups that are unaware of FCC licensing requirements. (Under FCC rules, wireless mics are intended for use in the production of TV, cable or motion picture programming and must be licensed by the agency.) In connection with the rulemaking process, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau will also conduct an investigation into marketing practices used by wireless mic manufacturers. The FCC’s proposal would impact 156 low power auxiliary licensees that currently operate in the 700 MHz band. Among the 156 affected licenses, 30 are authorized to operate exclusively in the 700 MHz band. Under an order adopted as part of the rulemaking notice, the FCC is also imposing a freeze on the filing of new applications for low power auxiliary licenses that seek authority to operate in the 700 MHz band after the DTV transition. Pending license applications would be held in abeyance until rulemaking proceedings are concluded. In adopting the notice, the FCC confirmed that wireless mic stations outside of the 700 MHz band would be allowed to continue operations on a secondary basis. During the past year, many of these operators have cited interference concerns of their own in their fight against proposals that would open DTV white spaces to unlicensed wireless broadband users.