FCC Issues Enforcement Advisory Regarding Narrowband Deadline

The FCC has released its latest Enforcement Advisory reminding private land mobile radio licensees operating in the 150-174 and 421-470 MHz frequency bands that their systems must comply with the narrowband mandate by January 1, 2013.

Frequently asked Questions:

What must private land mobile licensees operating in the VHF/UHF bands do as of January 1, 2013?

Operate on 12.5 kHz (11.25 kHz occupied bandwidth) or narrower channels, or

Employ narrowband-equivalent technology, i.e., a technology that achieves the narrowband equivalent of at least one channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth for voice and transmission rates of at least 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz for data systems operating with bandwidths greater than or equal to 12.5 kHz.

PLMR licensees are not required, at this time, to modify their licenses to remove wideband emission designators. However, the presence of a wideband emission designator on a license does not authorize operation after January 1, 2013 that does not comply with the narrowbanding standards.

What are manufacturers required to do as of January 1, 2013? Except under certain limited circumstances, equipment manufacturers may no longer manufacture and import previously-certified equipment capable of operating with only one voice path per 25 kHz of spectrum in the 150-174 MHz or 421-470 MHz bands. 

What if private land mobile licensees or manufacturers need more time? The Commission has long emphasized its commitment to the January 1, 2013 deadline for migration to narrowband technology. PLMR licensees or manufacturers that anticipate the need for additional time beyond the January 1, 2013 deadline to complete the narrowbanding of their systems or to bring their equipment into compliance with the equipment certification rules, respectively, must request a waiver.5 However, requests for waivers of the deadline will be subject to a high level of scrutiny under the waiver standard set forth in Section 1.925 of the Commission's rules.

What are the penalties for failure to comply with the January 1, 2013 deadline? The Enforcement Bureau is committed to aggressively enforcing the narrowbanding transition deadline and violators may be subject to enforcement action. Penalties for non-compliance may include 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.