What You Need To Know
The FCC commission’s Narrowbanding deadlines affecting land-mobile (LMR) radio users in the UHF and VHF bands are approaching rapidly without much fanfare. Are you prepared to meet these requirements? If not, your business or agency may not be able to fully communicate within the next one to two years.
Are you ready for Narrowbanding?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is mandating all public safety and industrial/business licensees convert existing 25 kHz radio systems to minimum narrowband 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013. The purpose of the narrowband mandate is to promote more efficient use of the VHF and UHF land mobile frequency bands.
Who is Affected?
All Land Mobile Part 90, 25 kHz efficiency systems operating on the following frequency bands:
- VHF (150-174 MHz)
- UHF (421-512 MHz)
Key Narrowbanding Deadlines for Radio Users
There are three key FCC deadlines which will direct affect license holders:
January 1, 2011 The FCC will not accept any applications for new systems operating at greater than 12.5 kHz bandwidth, unless that technology meets the spectrum equivalency of one voice channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth or 4800 bps per 6.25 kHz of channel bandwidth.
January 1, 2011 The FCC will not accept any applications for license modifications that would expand the geographic coverage of existing systems operating at greater than 12.5 kHz channels, unless that technology meets the spectrum equivalency of one voice channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth or 4800 bps per 6.25 kHz of channel bandwidth.
January 1, 2013 All licensees must migrate to 12.5 kHz technology, or technology that achieves the narrowband equivalent efficiency of one voice channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth, or 4800 bps per 6.25 kHz of channel bandwidth on or before January 1, 2013.
The main effect of these rulings is that it means that all users currently using 25 kHz based equipment must migrate to a new system at 12.5 kHz efficiency by January 1, 2013, and that they will not be able to get new licenses or modify licenses for 25 kHz systems beyond January 1, 2011.
Note: The FCC has NOT set any date by which licensees must operate in 6.25 kHz efficiency in these bands.
Motorola products meet Narrowbanding Compliance
12.5 kHz Efficiency
As a trusted leader in two-way communications, Motorola has been preparing for 12.5 kHz technology for over decade and offers the broadest choice of two-way radio equipment with close to 60 models capable of operating in 12.5 kHz efficiency. All Motorola radios certified by the FCC after February 14, 1997 meet the 12.5 kHz capability requirement. Newer Motorola radios enable modes of operation primarily through software, rather than firmware or hardware. The FCC will consider licensees to be in compliance if the 25 kHz efficiency mode of a dual mode 25/12.5 kHz radio is disabled via software and the radio user cannot subsequently reactivate the 25 kHz efficiency mode.
6.25 kHz Efficiency
For those licensees who want to voluntarily move to even greater efficiency than the 12.5 kHz efficiency required by the FCC, Motorola is currently shipping two complete product families that already meet any FUTURE FCC decision for licensees to operate in a 6.25 kHz equivalent efficiency mode.
- ASTRO 25 product line for mission critical public safety markets
- MOTOTRBO product line for commerce and enterprise markets
Both operate at two voice paths in a 12.5 kHz channel, using a Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) protocol. This technology allows licensees to double the capacity of their existing 12.5 kHz channel. In addition, they meet the current FCC requirement for licensees to operate in a 12.5 kHz efficiency mode by January 1, 2013.