FCC Narrowbanding Requirements

Just as TV is switching to digital, so is two-way radio - and for the same reasons. Digital technology is more efficient than analog, meaning more information can be transmitted in a given bandwidth.

Do not panic! Your two-way radios are not going to become worthless or obsolete over night. If you have purchased two-way radios from Fast Radios in the last six years it is very likely your radios meet the new requirements set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

But you need to be aware of your options going forward so please read on.

Two-way radios operate in licensed bands, such as VHF (very high frequency) or UHF (ultra high frequency). There are blocks, or channels of radio spectrum within those bands that are regulated through the FCC.

Historically, commercial two-way radio users use 25 kHz wide channels for a single voice path. Since only a fixed amount of radio frequency spectrum is available for two-way radio applications, and as the number of users has increased over the years, the availability of spectrum has decreased.

The FCC has foreseen this issue and has mandated all business and public safety radio users in the U.S. transition from 25 kHz channel spacing to at least 12.5 kHz wide channels by the end of 2012. The two-way radio industry calls this "narrow banding."

Fast Radios has been ahead of this curve. We have been recommending commercial quality two-way radios to you, our valued customer, that are capable of the narrow band 12.5 kHz channels since August 2003. And if you were new to two-way radios when we met, we set you up with 12.5 kHz narrow band programming in your radios. If you already had radios when we met and your radios were programmed to operate in 25 kHz wide band, we recommended radios that are capable of either wide (25 kHz) or narrow (12.5 kHz) and we programmed them to work with your existing radios in the wide (25 kHz) band.

Those radios will need to be re-programmed from wide (25 kHz) to narrow (12.5 kHz) before the deadline of December 2012.

Remember - the price of radios you purchase at Fast Radios includes LIFETIME programming changes and updates.

More importantly, the FCC has stated that 12.5 kHz narrow banding is not enough and is already looking past 12.5 kHz and "strongly urges" business radio users to migrate to 6.25 kHz very narrow band channels. It is important to note that the FCC has not yet set a date certain for required migration to very narrow 6.25 kHz channel width.


FCC Narrowbanding Mandate

So Fast Radios is staying ahead of the curve again and wants you to be aware of your options. To prepare for the migration, you should start assessing your radio system and planning for replacements or upgrades. You should inventory your current equipment to ascertain what can be converted to 12.5 kHz and what will need to be replaced before December 2012 so you are in compliance by the deadline of January 1, 2013.

You should BE SURE any new radio you purchase is capable of 12.5 kHz (narrow) channel spacing - and you SHOULD CONSIDER replacing old radios with new units that not only comply with the narrow band (12.5 kHz) requirements but are also capable of digital two-way radio and therefore capable of very narrow band (6.25 kHz).

New two-way radios are now available that will communicate with each other in digital mode as well as with your older units in analog mode. That means you can make the transition or "migration" from wide channels to narrow and very narrow as quickly or as slowly as you wish. And digital radios offer superior audio quality as well as a host of features to enhance your two-way radio system performance adding value to your investment.

HOWEVER, Don't be scared into spending more than you need to spend - analog radios that do narrow spacing are ALL YOU NEED TO BE COMPLIANT - Digital is great but you should speak with one of our experts first to get all the facts before you invest money in features you won't use.

Fast Radios is here to help you so please don't hesitate to contact us with your questions.

As always, thank you for your business!


Bill Richards

Call 800-691-3970 now. We can help find the best radios and radio equipment for you and your company.

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