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FCC Licensing

Licensing can be a tedious and long process so let Advanced Wireless Telecommunications, Inc. assist you with your FCC licensing needs. We take care of the details and make sure everything is done right when it comes to your FCC license.

AWT works closely with FCC-approved frequency coordinators on FCC licensing requirements to ensure your operations remain legal. We can assist you with new applications, renewals, relocations, and modifications as well as help you prepare for the future.

 

Reminder: FCC-Mandated Narrowbanding Is Underway For VHF And UHF Users.

 

What Is Narrowbanding?

Private land mobile radio (LMR) systems – including municipal government and State and local public safety systems – use blocks of radio spectrum called channels. Historically, LMR systems have used 25 kHz-wide channels. In December 2004, the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all private LMR users operating below 512 MHz move to 12.5 kHz narrowband voice channels and highly efficient data channel operations by January 1, 2013. This migration complements a National Telecommunications and Information Administration mandate for more rapid Federal agency migration to 12.5 kHz narrowband operation by January 1, 2008. The earlier Federal deadline affects State and local FCC licensees that interface or share frequencies with Federal radio systems.

narrowband-channels

Figure 1: Narrowband channels allow additional channels to exist in the same spectrum.

Who Is Affected?

The FCC Narrowbanding rules affect all operators of land mobile radios (LMR) that use channels between:

  • 150 and 174 MHz
  • 421 and 512 MHz 

Deadlines / Key Dates:

To phase in the migration deadline of January 1, 2013, the FCC has established interim deadlines.

The first important deadline is January 1, 2011 (Manufacturer Date Certain) after which:

  • The FCC will not grant applications for new voice operations or applications to expand the authorized contour of existing stations that use 25 kHz channels. Only narrowband authorizations will be granted.
  • The FCC will prohibit manufacture or importation of new equipment that operates on 25 kHz channels. This will reduce the availability of new equipment for legacy radio systems and will affect how agencies maintain and upgrade older systems.
  • New equipment submitted for FCC type-acceptance must be 6.25/6.25 kHz (e)
  • New system applications must be 12.5 kHz or less
  • No 25 kHz system expansion permitted

January 1, 2013 (Licensee Date Certain) 

  • All existing licenses must operate on channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 KHz or less (narrowband).  Failure to comply with the January 1, 2013 deadline results in cancellation of license.
  • I/B and PS 150-512 MHz incumbents must migrate to 12.5/12.5 kHz (e) or less
  • It is unclear what happens to licensed 25 kHz systems after this date certain

Land Mobile Radio Systems still using wideband channels as of January 1, 2013, risk the following:

  • Loss of Radio Communications
  • Substantial FCC Fines
  • Revocation of FCC Licenses

Planning For The Move To Narrowband 

Land Mobile Radio System Operators (both public safety and nonpublic safety) need to aggressively develop a strategy to meet narrowband deadlines to avoid cancellation of existing wideband FCC authorizations. Although the migration deadline may seem far off, the long lead time and interim deadlines make it necessary for you to plan well in advance.

Assess Current Equipment And Start Planning

To prepare for the migration, organizations should start assessing their radio systems and planning for replacements or upgrades. They should inventory their current equipment to ascertain what can be converted to 12.5 kHz and what will need to be replaced before January 1, 2013. Most new equipment has the capability for both 25 kHz and 12.5 kHz operation because any VHF/UHF radio equipment accepted by the FCC after February 14, 1997, had to have 12.5 kHz capability. The 12.5 kHz narrowband equipment is available in both conventional analog FM and digital formats (such as Project 25), so narrowband conventional FM systems will be compliant. Local governments should develop contingency plans to accommodate system changes for both public safety and nonpublic safety systems.

Obtain New Or Modified Licenses

To move to narrowband operations, organizations must apply for new frequencies or modify existing licenses. An organization that is licensed for a 25 kHz-wide channel is not guaranteed two 12.5 kHz channels. Licensees will have to justify to the FCC why they need additional channels. Consideration of applications for new narrowband licenses will follow the same process as a new license application. As organizations migrate to narrowband operation, however, the pool of available frequencies will increase.

Suggested Actions

Is Your Business Radio System “Narrowband” Compliant?

Let AWT complete an assessment of your existing licenses. We will simplify the process for you and help you secure results.

It’s important to start planning now to migrate to narrowband systems by assessing your current radio equipment and applying for new or modified licenses – the FCC deadline of January 1, 2013 is not very far away.

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