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Understanding FCC Narrowbanding Requirements

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2007
2 pages
This report briefly discusses the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) mandated transition of all private land mobile radio (LMR) systems to narrowband 12.5 kHz channels by January 1, 2013.
The use of narrowband channels will ensure that agencies take advantage of more efficient technology, and by reducing channel width, will allow additional channels to exist within the same spectrum space. Key points identified in this report include; (1) most current public safety radio systems use 25 kHz-wide channels; (2) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that all non-Federal public safety licensees using 25 kHz radio systems migrates to narrowband 12.5 kHz channels by January 1, 2013; (3) agencies that do not meet the deadline face the loss of communication capabilities; and (4) agencies need to start planning now to migrate to narrowband systems by assessing their current radio equipment and applying for new or modified licenses. Private land mobile radio (LMR) systems use blocks of radio spectrum called channels. Historically, LMR systems have used 25 kHz-wide channels. In December 2004, the FCC mandated that all private LMR users move to 12.5 kHz narrowband voice channels and highly efficient data channel operations by January 1, 2013. This mandate complements a National Telecommunications and Information Administration mandate for more rapid Federal agency migration to 12.5 kHz narrowband operation by January 1, 2008. This report discusses public agencies' need to aggressively develop a strategy to meet narrowband deadlines.

Date Published: May 1, 2007