Narrowbanding - Phase 1


Are you ready?

Key points of the FCC narrowbanding mandate:

  • Most land mobile radio systems use 25 kHz-wide channels.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that all VHF & UHF land mobile licensees using 25 kHz radio systems migrate to narrowband 12.5 kHz by 11:59 pm, December 31, 2012.
  • Licensees that do NOT meet the deadlines will face the loss of their communication capabilities.

Need assistance preparing?

Our focus is providing professional services for you:

  • We can prepare an assessment to determine your needs
  • Inventory and assess existing equipment for narrowband capability
  • Develop a migration plan to minimize system downtime
  • Consider interoperability between different departments of a city/county
  • Clarify impact on wide-area mutual aid and emergency channels
  • Research alternatives for upgrading to digital paging, station alerting and siren activation
  • Explore options for upgrade to P25 (digital) systems
  • Assist in frequency coordination and FCC licensing



Consequences of Non-Compliance


The commission released a public notice reminding licensees, frequency coordinators, equipment vendors and other interested parties of its 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 12.5 kilohertz or narrower technology.

The FCC said information on narrowbanding is updated regularly and available at

Potential consequences were outlined in the notice. Licensees operating in wideband mode after Jan. 1, 2013, that have not received a waiver from the FCC extending the deadline will be in violation of FCC rules and may subject licensees to appropriate enforcement action, including admonishments, license revocation, and/or monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.

In addition, the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) which includes every FCC-certified frequency coordinator, said that effective Feb.1, 2013, frequency coordinators will treat incumbent noncompliant 25-kilohertz systems as 12.5-kilohertz systems for purposes of identifying frequency assignments for use with land mobile systems, pursuant to Section 90.18712 and other applicable commission rules, absent a pending modification application evidencing narrowbanding compliance or a pending or granted request for waiver of the deadline.

Further information regarding the FCC mandate for narrow-band emission can be found here.