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2013 FCC Narrowband Mandate


PSHSB held a workshop on the VHF/UHF narrowbanding transition on Wednesday, January 26, 2011. Find out more.



On January 1, 2013, all public safety and business industrial land mobile radio systems operating in the 150-512 MHz radio bands must cease operating using 25 kHz efficiency technology, and begin operating using at least 12.5 kHz efficiency technology. This deadline is the result of an FCC effort that began almost two decades ago to ensure more efficient use of the spectrum and greater spectrum access for public safety and non-public safety users. Migration to 12.5 kHz efficiency technology (once referred to as Refarming, but now referred to as Narrowbanding) will allow the creation of additional channel capacity within the same radio spectrum, and support more users.

After January 1, 2013, licensees not operating at 12.5 KHz efficiency will be in violation of the Commission's rules and could be subject to FCC enforcement action, which may include admonishment, monetary fines, or loss of license.

To learn more, please read the VHF/UHF Narrowbanding FAQs.

Narrowbanding Releases


  • 7/13/2011

    Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and Office of Engineering and Technology Provide Reminder of January 1, 2013 Deadline for Transition to Narrowband Operations in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz Bands and Guidance for Submission of Requests for Waiver and Other Matters.

    Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

  • 1/14/2011

    Federal Communications Commission Releases Agenda for January 26, 2011 Workshop on VHF/UHF Narrowbanding Deadline.

    Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

  • 12/23/2010

    FCC to Hold Workshop on January 26, 2011 on VHF/UHF Narrowbanding.

    Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

  • 12/6/2010

    FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Launches New Webpage Dedicated to Narrowbanding Public Safety Communications.

    News Release: Word | Acrobat

  • 12/6/2010

    The Office of Engineering Technology, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Remind Licensees, Frequency Coordinators, and Equipment Manufacturers of Narrowband Migration Deadlines in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz Bands.

    Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

  • 6/30/10

    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.

    Order: Word | Acrobat

  • FCC Action Eliminates Certain Interim Narrowbanding Deadlines for Public Safety and Commercial Licensees.

    News Release: Word | Acrobat

  • 12/11/09

    Licensees, Frequency Coordinators, and Equipment Manufacturers Reminded of Narrowband Migration Deadlines in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz Bands.

    Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

  • 11/2/09

    Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seek Comment on National Public Safety Telecommunications Council Petition for Stay of Interim Narrowband Implementation Dates.

    Public Notice: Word | Acrobat

See all Narrowbanding Docket documents

The Narrowbanding Docket grew out of the Refarming Docket. See a list of Refarming Docket documents.

Additional Resources





  • Virginia Interoperability Coordinator's Office: Narrowband: Are You Ready?
  • Maine Emergency Management Agency/Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife: Narrowband - Will You Be Ready? Part 1 | Part 2

Planning Resources


Grant Information

National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA): Funds awarded under the Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) Grant Program may be used for Narrowbanding projects; funds may be used to purchase equipment that meets Narrowbanding requirements or to educate users about the requirements. Please direct specific questions about allowable PSIC expenditures to PSIC@dhs.gov.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Preparedness Grants: Many FEMA Preparedness grants fund Narrowband activities: Narrowband planning, assessments, training, exercises, and equipment. Current grantees should ask Program Analysts or Grant Program Offices whether unused FEMA funds can be reallocated to Narrowband activities. Entities seeking funding information should visit: http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/index.shtm
Department of Justice (DOJ) Programs: http://www.justice.gov/10grants/
DHS Office of Emergency Communications: Fiscal Year 2011, SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants (pdf)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program provides financing through direct and guaranteed loans and grants to units of local government, nonprofit organizations, and Federally-recognized Indian tribes for the development of essential community facilities in rural areas. Community Facilities loan and grant funds may be used to construct, enlarge, improve or make equipment purchases for educational, health care, public safety and other types of facilities that serve the public. By funding equipment and upgrades, the Community Facilities Program can support public safety licensees in meeting the narrowbanding deadline.
Funding Opportunity Information
State Funding: Several States used Federal funding to establish a central fund to assist localities in purchasing Narrowband compliant equipment, and ensuring compliance with the Narrowband mandate. See your Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC) for more information on statewide compliance efforts, and funding opportunities.





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