Is Minnesota ready for the FCC Mandated Narrowbanding?
What is narrowband? If you’re not sure, here is a quick explanation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over 10 years ago initiated a Narrowband Mandate set for January 1st of 2013, enough time to engineer equipment that would meet the FCC requirements. This mandate will require all FCC licensing and FCC compliant radios to be narrowband in order to help eliminate frequency interference and congestion due to the large number of two-way radio systems in use today.
Now for the real question… is Minnesota ready? With only 3 months to go, time is running out!
Advanced Wireless Communications has polled over 400 businesses to see the status of their compliance with this rule. The most common misconception found from this poll and from their findings in contacting businesses to get their licenses modified and or reprogrammed; These businesses believe that they only have to modify their FCC license. False, the radios also need to be programmed to operate on a narrowband frequency.
We have noticed 3 different scenarios when calling different facilities in Minnesota to inform them about narrowbanding:
- The license has been modified and the radios are already narrowband. Ideally this is where we want all Minnesota businesses to be. Minnesota School Districts and large retail chains have noticeably been the most efficient at having this completed and up-to-date.
- They are aware of the Narrowband Mandate, although, do not have a plan setup. This is where the majority of businesses in Minnesota fall. Advanced Wireless Communications has been helping narrowband many different models of radio and has been modifying or renewing FCC licenses to comply with the Narrowband Mandate (FCC Licensing prices will vary) for many Minnesota businesses.
- Wait..? What is Narrowbanding? Believe it or not, there are some businesses out there that don’t know much, if anything, about the Narrowband Mandate. The FCC website (shown below) can help explain the Narrowband Mandate and answer any questions that you may have about updating your FCC licensing and radios.
Minnesota businesses have taken large strides in the last year to adapt to the new FCC regulations, although, there are still many business that need to be informed about the Narrowband Mandate. The FCC will consider any radio equipment that does not meet the Narrowband Mandate by January 1, 2013 to be operating in violation of the FCC rules. All violations are subject to FCC enforcement action, which may include FCC admonishment, monetary fines, and loss of license (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). Let’s do our part and inform Minnesota businesses about narrowbanding in order to avoid disciplinary action and make sure all Minnesota businesses are ready for 2013!