Well at the end fo 2014 a significant event will happen that will affect thousands of people Australia wide. From humble marriage celebrants to audio hire companies. The federal government has sold a large portion of the radio spectrum to Telstra and similar companies and therefore about 80% of wireless audio devices will need to be retired. This cleared spectrum will be used for next generation phones etc. The wireless audio devices will now have a smaller part of the spectrum to work in and will have to share it. So you can imagine the effect that this is going to have on a whole of people who use such devices. Now the government sold this spectrum for nearly $2 billion and the main bone of contention is that the government is not planning to tell any of the users that they will most likely have to scrap their wireless audio equipment and they are not offering compensation. For some reason, they seem to think that only businesses will be affected and that those businesses replace their wireless audio devices every two years, so would have been buying new anyway. The Australian Wireless Audio Group (AWAG) have been talking to the government for almost six years, but they don’t seem to understand how flawed their thinking is. How this issue will impact the community and that their assumption about the two-year horizon on replacement is seriously misplaced. This will affect churches, schools, tour guides, musicians, fitness centres, meeting and conventions, as well as all forms of live production including music, dramatic theatre and musical theatre. Many wireless audio devices used in these communities are a decade old and more – certainly not replaced every two years. Nobody, especially small operators are going to replace their gear because it is only two years old, they will replace when it gets unreliable or stops altogether. It is also interesting that the government gave money to commercial television operators to move to the digital spectrum, but seem to be unwilling to help to small users who have spent their own money buying equipment that is likely to end up in landfill because they are going to have to bin it.
So take the time to read the press release below and make the effort to sign the petition.
Wireless Microphone users hit hard: petition calls for help
The Australian Wireless Audio Group (AWAG) has stepped up its campaign calling on the Federal Government to compensate wireless audio users impacted by the sell-off of the 700 MHz radio frequency bandwidth.
An online Senate Petition launched last week at http://www.wirelessaudioaustralia.org has already gathered 548 signatures, and AWAG Executive Director Ian Harvey expects that number to grow
substantially as people become aware of the issue.
“Thousands of small businesses, churches, schools and community groups are going to be affected by this change,” Mr Harvey said.
“But the Government has so far failed to implement proper transition arrangements, so many wireless audio users are unaware that their PA equipment will be rendered unusable in just 18 months.”
“And when they do find out about the change, they will be faced with the significant financial burden of replacing their devices, even when they are still in good working order” he said.
AWAG said that the impacts of the Government’s changes will be felt across a number of sectors, including:
- Schools, universities and TAFEs
- Performing arts groups (professional and amateur)
- Independent musicians
- The fitness/aerobics industry
- The conventions/meetings industry
- Community groups
“We need as many people as possible to go online and sign the Senate Petition,” Mr Harvey said. “The more signatures we get, the more pressure we will put on the Government to do the right thing and address this important issue.”
The Senate Petition can be found at http://www.wirelessaudioaustralia.org/