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Practical Guide to Narrowbanding

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2011
12 pages
This guide provides best practices and lessons learned by emergency response communities during the mandated narrowband transition.
In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated all non-Federal radio licensees operating 25 kHz systems in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands (VHF and UHF) to migrate to more efficient 12.5 kHz (narrowband) channels by January 1, 2013; this guide provides information to help organizations plan the transition from wideband to narrowband. Transitioning to narrowband radio can make some portable, mobile, paging, base-station, and repeater radios obsolete, resulting in a loss of coverage or capacity. This guide provides a step-by-step approach for narrowbanding communications equipment and licenses and includes five case studies from California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, and Virginia which illustrate common narrowbanding challenges and solutions. Compiled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), this guide showcases best practices for overcoming common challenges when transitioning to narrowband. Topics covered include Practical Steps for a Smooth Narrowband Transition; Key Deadlines, Risks, and Benefits. Table, figure, Web links, and bibliography