FCC Issues Mandate to All Two-Way Radio Users

Courtney Williams's picture
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Warning: All school districts that use two-way radios will have less than one year to comply with the Federal Communications Commission's narrowbanding mandate, or risk losing all communication capabilities.

Narrowbanding is part of a continued effort by the FCC to ensure efficient use of the spectrum and greater access for public safety and non-public safety users. Narrowbanding, which operates at 12.5 kHz, will allow additional channels to exist in the same spectrum and support more users. More than 50 percent of call signs still need to be narrowbanded to meet compliance by Jan. 1, 2013.

  • Which two-way radio users are affected? Land mobile radio systems operating in the 150-512 MHz radio bands using 25 kHz efficiency. (VHF: 150-174 MHz and UHF: 421-512 MHz)
  • How much will it cost? Districts will need to pay reprogramming and licensing fees, which vary based on the make and mode of the two-way radio.
  • When is the deadline? Jan. 1, 2013—Any users in violation are subject to FCC enforcement action, including fines or loss of license.
  • Where can I find more information? 
  1. FCC: transition.fcc.gov/pshs/public-safety-spectrum/narrowbanding.htm 
  2. BearCom Two-Way Radio Narrowbanding Guide: www.bearcom.com/resource-library/BearCom20112012NarrowbandingGuide.pdf