Friday, October 16, 2009

Update On FCC Narrowband Standards

We recently received.......

an email from a representative of a large communications manufacturer questioning why we did not provide supporting documentation to validate information contained in a recent newsletter. Specifically, this individual, and presumably the corporation with which she is employed, felt that our comments could be in error and causing confusion to our readers. This was never our intention, so we thought a word of clarification might be in order.

Our newsletter as well as information referenced on some of our web sites cited the schedule for narrow banding with the dates of 2011, 2013, and 2018 being significant. These dates were taken from public releases by the Federal Communications Commission. 2011 is the date that all VHF and UHF radios manufactured for sale in the USA must be capable of operating at 6.25 kHz. 2013 is the date that all users must reduce bandwidth from 25 to 12.5 kHz and 2018 is the originally proposed date by the FCC to require reduction in bandwidth from 12.5 to 6.25 kHz.

2018 was the original date proposed by the FCC to require operation at 6.25 kHz. This was later amended in the FCC Third Report and Order which suspended the requirement to convert to 6.25 kHz by 2018. However, the Commission made it very clear that they would expeditiously establish a transition date for users to convert to that more spectrum-efficient technology. We concluded that this meant that the original target date of 2018 would likely be met. However, we must admit that this is an assumption on our part, but based on past history, we believe the odds are that the FCC will stick with their original schedule. Obviously, there are those who may not agree. At the least, we feel that we have an obligation to share information to the best of our ability.

Speaking of sharing information, this same representative took exception with our policy of rejecting a one size fits all marketing policy. Every manufacturer has a unique product offering. In most cases, it is the dealer’s responsibility to assist those they serve in making the best choice for that users individuals needs. Sometimes this may not fit with a manufacturer’s objective or even winning incentive rewards by the dealer. Still, at the end of the day we still have to live with ourselves and that means putting our customers first. That’s the way we have always done business and the way we will continue to do business as long as we are in business.

Selected sections of the FCC Third Report and Order dealing with mandatory implementation of 6.25 kHz operational standards follows:

Federal Communications Commission FCC 07-39

Before the Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of Implementation of Sections 309(j) and 337 of the Communications Act of 1934 as Amended Promotion of Spectrum Efficient Technologies on Certain Part 90 Frequencies


WT Docket No. 99-87



Adopted: March 22, 2007 Released: March 26, 2007

10. Based on our review of the comments, we will not establish a specific migration plan to 6.25 kHz at this time. We note that the majority of commenters believe that adopting such a measure would be premature, and we conclude that more time is warranted to allow further development and field testing of the 6.25 kHz standard. It thus is not presently apparent what date would be most appropriate for requiring licensees to use radios that operate on 6.25 kHz channels or wider-band equipment that delivers equivalent efficiency.

11. We reiterate, however, that 12.5 kHz technology is a transitional step in the eventual migration of PLMR systems to 6.25 kHz technology. As the demand for scarce PLMR spectrum continues to grow, the Commission will closely monitor the progress made by standards-setting organizations and equipment manufacturers to develop more spectrum-efficient PLMR systems. We will pay particular attention to progress made in the development of 6.25 kHz technology. When that technology matures to the point that sufficient equipment is available for testing, we will expeditiously establish a transition date for users to convert to that more spectrum-efficient technology.