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Narrowbanding = Reducing the amount of spectrum a radio uses to transmit a message.


In December of 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced requirements to narrowband radio frequencies. We are now quickly approaching the deadline for compliance with that order, January 1st, 2013.

By this date, all radios and radio systems covered by the narrowband order must be compliant with the order. Those failing to be compliant will face a cease and desist order on their radio systems or potentially fines (up to $10,000) from the FCC.

The narrowband order affects license holders:

  • In the Public Safety Conventional (PW) frequency pool; and
  • In the Industrial/Business (IG) pool operating in frequencies between 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz.

If your organization holds a license in this frequency range you should check into this further by contacting your radio vendor and/or working with a FCC frequency coordinator.

To begin the transition to narrowband you will need to consider the following points,

  1. Assess/inventory current equipment and radio systems
  2. Plan/budget for new equipment
  3. Apply for new/modified license
  4. Establish timetable for new equipment
  5. Implement your transition plan
  6. Implement new equipment/systems

Information Resources:

All land and mobile radio repeaters for Maine State Government have been converted to operate in narrowband mode; meeting the FCC narrowband mandate for January 1, 2013
West Kennebago Mountain, accessible only by helicopter, was the final site converted by State radio technicians on November 28, 2012
Radio Services MSCOMMNET Site
MSCOMMNET Radio Network Project: FAQ, Q & A, Map and News
Narrowbanding of State of Maine Repeaters for Public Safety Land Mobile Radios
Learn more about MSCOMMNET and Radio Services Operations and Schedules
Narrowbanding Planning Intentions
State of Maine Update to Narrowband Planning Primer for Maine Towns and Counties
Presentation from MSCommNet Outreach Sessions, March 2012
A copy of the presentation given at the Presque Isle, Orono, Augusta and Portland MSCommNet outreach sessions.
FCC Potential Enforcement Consequences
What are the potential enforcement consequences to VHF/UHF licensees of failing to narrowband by January 1, 2013?
A Practical Guide to Narrowbanding
Designed to provide best practices and recommendations for overcoming the most common challenges agencies may experience when transitioning to narrowband.
Want to Check Your Narrowband License Status of Your Town, City, or County?
OEC/ICTAP has created a Public safety Technology Assistance Tool where you can check the status of your Narrowband license or those of your neighbors. Follow the link or go to the MEMA Narrowbanding website:
Instructions for Modifying FCC License for Narrowbanding
This document has been borrowed from the State of Vermont with permission
Maine Townsman
The Magazine of the Maine Municipal Association: Shock Radio? Deadline Approaches for Narrow Band Conversion
Narrowband: Will You Be Ready?? (video)
MEMA and IF&W contracted with PatraCompany L.L.C. to produce an informative video on the subject of Narrowbanding.
Media clip on Narrowbanding
WAGM-TV 8 video clip on Narrowbanding
From the Director: June Means Only 30 months to Narrowband Deadline
If you have no idea what that headline means, this message if for you.
Narrowbanding Advisory Notice
Purpose:  To advise appropriate organizations operating communications equipment within the State of Maine of the FCC Narrowbanding requirement and to provide information that may be of assistance in meeting this requirement.
Are You Ready? Plan Now for Narrowbanding:
(Article in MEMA's December Communications newsletter)
FCC Narrowbanding Mandate: A Public Safety Guide for Compliance
International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA) Narrowbanding brochure. This booklet explains the requirements in greater detail, and contains an excellent "Frequently Asked Questions" section. (Adobe® Acrobat format).
FCC Part 90
Information and Resources for VHF-UHF Licensees
Narrowbanding Questions and Answers:
FCC presentation on narrowbanding given at the Maine Partners in Preparedness Conference (Adobe® Acrobat format).
FCC-10-36A1 Report and Order:
This  recent rule change allows organizations in many cases to apply for modification to a license without the cost of a frequency coordinator (Adobe® Acrobat format). 
Radio Guide:
This Guide has a list of radios that are narrowband compliant.

Contact a Frequency Coordinator: Public Safety Frequencies:
The FCC maintains a comprehensive list of Frequency Coordinator contacts for both Public Safety and Industrial/Business frequencies.

Follow this site, as well as the bi-monthly SCIP newsletter published here, for updated information on the narrow-banding initiative.

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Last update: 01/02/13