FCC Released New Guidance in November to Remind Licensees of Jan. 1 Narrowband Deadline
This Public Notice (DA 12-1914) reminds licensees, frequency coordinators, equipment vendors and other interested parties of the Federal Communications Commission’s Jan. 1, 2013, deadline for private land mobile radio (PLMR) services in the 150-174 MHz and 421-470 MHz (VHF/UHF) bands to migrate to narrowband (12.5 kHz or narrower) technology.
Licensees and frequency coordinators should be aware that:
(1) as of Jan., 1, 2011, the Commission cut off acceptance of VHF/UHF applications for:
-new wideband operations (i.e., operations with only one voice path per 25 kHz of spectrum); and
-modification of existing wideband 25 kHz stations that expand the authorized interference contour (19 dBu VHF, 21 dBu UHF); and
(2) by Jan. 1, 2013, all VHF/UHF Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees must:
-operate on 12.5 kHz (11.25 kHz occupied bandwidth) or narrower channels; or
-employ a technology that achieves the narrowband equivalent of at least one channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth for voice, and data transmission rates of at least 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz for systems operating with bandwidths greater than 12.5 kHz (narrowband-equivalent technology).
Equipment manufacturers should be aware that, as of Jan. 1, 2011, the Commission cut off certification of 150-174 MHz or 421-470 MHz band equipment capable of operating with only one voice path per 25 kHz of spectrum. Providers may manufacture and import previously-certified equipment that includes a 25 kHz mode until Jan. 1, 2013, and wideband-capable equipment that was manufactured or imported prior to that date may continue to be sold after Jan. 1, 2013.
Additional Narrowbanding Information
Additional information concerning narrowbanding migration and compliance, including other frequently asked questions, is available at the Commission’s narrowbanding webpage, http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/narrowbanding-overview, which is updated regularly.
Narrowbanding modification applications
A “straight” narrowbanding modification application requires neither frequency coordination (pursuant to Section 90.175(j)(20) of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 90.175(j)(20)) nor payment of Commission fees (pursuant to Section 1.1116(a) of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.1116(a)). A straight narrowbanding modification application is an application to modify a license by deleting a wideband emission designator (occupied bandwidth in excess of 11.25 kHz) or adding one or more narrowband emission designators to, or in place of, a wideband emission designator—but not changing the existing frequencies, emission types (the last three characters of the emission designator), locations, or other technical parameters of the license. An application that reduces the occupied bandwidth but also alters other technical parameters, such as changing from analog to digital emissions, is not a straight narrowbanding modification application and requires both frequency coordination and payment of Commission fees.
Modification applications to demonstrate compliance with the narrowbanding mandate should be received by the Commission prior to the Jan. 1, 2013, deadline. Narrowbanding-compliant systems may operate after Jan. 1, 2013, if an application is on file with the Commission by that date and modifications require only a reduction in bandwidth of the authorized emission designators. If a licensee files an application to modify the existing emission designator to change it from a wideband designator to a narrowband designator, the licensee must begin operating on the narrowband frequencies no later than the date that the Commission grants the narrowbanding application. If a licensee adds a narrowband emission designator but retains the wideband emission designator, the licensee has until the narrowbanding deadline of Jan. 1, 2013, to begin operating on the narrowband frequencies.
Read the complete Public Notice.