The FCC has issued a Public Notice providing guidance to licensees, frequency coordinators, and equipment vendors regarding compliance with the narrowbanding mandate that was effective on January 1, 2013. The PN offers an overview of the key narrowbanding provisions and follows up with guidance for licensees with wideband emission designators.
Private land mobile radio licensees are reminded that wideband operations in the VHF/UHF bands are no longer permitted without a valid waiver grant from the FCC. Licensees whose licenses list both wideband and narrowband emission designators are not required to remove the wideband emission designators but are encouraged to do so either the next time they make any change to their license or by filing a simple narrowbanding modification via the Commission’s Universal Licensing System.
Licensees whose licenses list only wideband emission designators likely fall into one of two groups. 1.) Licensees with stations that are narrowband-capable can retain their wideband emission designators but must affirmatively certify that they meet the narrowband spectrum efficiency standard. This can be done as an Administrative Update via the ULS and should include an attachment certifying compliance, including the equipment’s FCC ID number. 2.) Licensees with wideband emission designators whose stations are not narrowband-capable must either cease operations or immediately seek a waiver to permit continued wideband operation. Licensees that seek a post-deadline waiver should not assume that their request will be granted.
The Commission has instructed frequency coordinators, for the time being, to generally treat incumbent wideband-only licensees as 12.5 kHz when coordinating new frequency assignments. However the Commission also notes it intends to take steps to verify the status of all stations with active licenses that include wideband emission designators, to confirm that such stations remain operational and are in compliance with narrowbanding rules. More details on those efforts will be announced in a forthcoming Public Notice.
Licensees operating in wideband mode after January 1, 2013 and have not received a waiver from the Commission extending the deadline are in violation of the rules. Licensees who operate in violation of the rules are subject to enforcement action which may include admonishments, license revocation, and/or monetary forfeitures of up to $16,000 for each violation and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act.
A new narrowbanding licensing tool has been added to the ULS to simplify the filing of narrowbanding applications for those licensees that have yet to do so. Licensees must know their FRN and Password to utilize the tool.