VHF/UHF Narrowbanding

By , December 20, 2010

Land mobile radio (LMR) systems – the two-way radios most often used to communicate with fleet vehicles – have been mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to change from 25 kHz radio channels to narrowband 12.5 kHz channels by January 1, 2013.

Waivers for Deadline Extension

VHF/UHF licensees that may not be able to fully narrowband their systems by the January 1, 2013 deadline may request a waiver from the FCC. Guidance for waiver requests is provided in the July 13, 2011 Public Notice.

The FCC has stated that waivers will be subject to a high level of scrutiny, and can only shift the deadline. The July 13, 2011 Public Notice provides a number of discrete factors that will be used in determining the merits of waiver requests, including a timeline for achievement of narrowbanding. The FCC strongly encourages the filing of waiver requests as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for review.

The July 13, 2011 Public Notice also notes that violation of the deadline (without an approved waiver) may result in enforcement actions.  These actions may range from warnings to license revocation, and/or fines of up to $16,000 for each violation or each day of a continuing violation and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.

Narrowbanding Topics