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FCC Narrowbanding Mandate

FCC Narrowbanding FAQs

Please view frequently asked questions below.  Download FAQ (PDF)

1. What will happen if I fail to comply with the FCC Narrowbanding mandate?

Users who do not comply with the FCC Narrowbanding mandate face admonishment, monetary fines, difficulty in obtaining future licenses and/or loss of license.

2. What are the monetary fines for noncompliance?

According to the FCC, monetary forfeitures may be "up to $16,000 for each violation or each day of continuing violation, and up to $112,500 for any single act or failure to act."

3. Can I continue to operate on a secondary basis at 25 kHz efficiency after the January 1, 2013 deadline?

No. Licensees have been instructed to convert their systems either to 12.5 kHz maximum bandwidth or equivalent efficiency by January 1st.

4. What is the equivalent efficiency?

Licensees may meet an "equivalent efficiency," also referred to as the "efficiency standard," instead of satisfying the requirement to operate channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or less.

  • Voice operations: One voice path in a 12.5 kHz channel or two voice paths in a 25 kHz channel.
  • Data operations: Data rates must be greater than 4.8 kbps per 6.25 kHz channel.

5. Will the FCC still accept and grant a waiver request for extensions after the January 1, 2013 Narrowbanding deadline?

The FCC has not set a date after which waiver requests will not be accepted. However, later filed waivers will be highly scrutinized by the FCC since licensees have been aware of the deadline for many years. If an extension is granted, licensees should expect their waivers to be valid for shorter periods and plan accordingly.

6. How will the FCC know if my system is narrowband compliant after the
January 1, 2013 deadline?

According to an August 22, 2012 Advisory from the FCC, "[Its] Enforcement Bureau is committed to aggressively enforcing the narrowbanding transition deadline." The FCC plans to audit its database after the start of the year to identify license holders who haven’t narrowbanded. Other licensees may also report illegally operating wideband.

7. Do I need to let the FCC know that I am operating narrowband equivalent technology on 25 kHz channels after the January 1, 2013 deadline?

If your license reflects the correct emission designator, the FCC will assume you are operating within required specifications. However, the FCC reserves the right to confirm this item and to change future policy if a licensee holds authorization for a wider bandwidth in addition to the narrowband designator.

8. How can I determine if I have a valid FCC license?

Contact an Authorized Icom Dealer in your region for assistance or advice.

9. I currently have a license for a 25 kHz channel. Will I automatically be entitled to license two 12.5 kHz channels after I narrowband?

No. Your 25 kHz channel will not be split into two 12.5 KHz channels, although you can apply for additional 12.5 kHz channels through a certified frequency coordinator.

10. Will I lose coverage area when I narrowband?

Every system is different and users may experience a loss in signal strength. For a better estimate of how narrowbanding will affect your communications, consult with an Authorized Icom Dealer or
Icom Representative in your area.

11. Will I end up with more spectrum after I narrowband?

No. You will still be licensed on your current frequency.

12. Will 25 kHz wideband systems receive interference from narrowbanded systems?

Noncompliant systems will most likely experience interference from both primary co-channel and neighboring channel narrowband systems.

13. After I convert my radio system and licenses to 12.5 kHz narrowband use, do I keep the 25 kHz spectrum I was once authorized to use?

No. After you update your system to narrowband efficiency, you will still be licensed on your current frequency. The amount of authorized spectrum will be reduced.

14. How should I dispose of wideband equipment?

Surplus property entities may assist with the disposal and sale of wideband-only equipment. Check with your agency or other departments for other courses of action. Be sure to remove all frequency and channel elements before disposal.

15. How can I determine if my Icom radios are narrowband compliant?

All Icom Land Mobile radios featured on the Icom America site are narrowband compliant. For specific model information, visit Icom America’s Land Mobile web page.

Obtain additional information on Icom products from your local Authorized Icom Dealer.

16. Does Icom offer a communications solution for greater efficiency than the FCC’s 12.5 kHz efficiency requirement?

Yes. Exceed current FCC narrowbanding standards at 6.25 kHz efficiency with IDAS™, the Icom Digital Advanced System. IDAS is a customizable radio solution that features spectrum efficiency, audio quality and coverage, secure conversation, IDAS trunking, IP connectivity and flexible migration path.

Visit Icom's website for more information on IDAS.