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Licensees operating in wideband after January 1, 2013 that have not received a waiver from the Commission extending the deadline will be in violation of the Commission’s rules.  Operating in violation may subject licensees to appropriate enforcement action including: admonishments, 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.

ATTENTION: Colleges, Universities, and K-12 Schools
FCC’s Narrowbanding Mandate Affects You! Deadline OVERDUE!

School districts, universities, and colleges as well as student transportation and school bus operations are among the licensees affected. If it is not clear what type of radio you have or what frequencies your organization operates in, please contact the manufacturer.


Click here to watch a video on the Ada, Oklahoma radio testing provided by the Oklahoma Chapter of APCO.

Narrowband Diagram “Narrowbanding” refers to a requirement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that — on or before January 1, 2013 — all existing licensees on the VHF and UHF Spectrum implement equipment designed to operate on channel bandwidths of 12.5 kHz or less or that meets a specific efficiency standard. Licensees will need to convert or replace their existing VHF and UHF wideband (25 kHz) systems. Ultimately, equipment will need to operate on bandwidths of 6.25 kHz or less; however, no deadline has been established for this second phase of narrowbanding.


FCC's Narrowbanding mandate:

All Part 90 VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-512 MHz) Private Land Mobile Radio (PLMR) system licensees convert from what has been known as "wide-band" (25 KHz) operation to "narrowband" (12.5 KHz or equivalent) operation by January 1, 2013.

  • VHF (150–174 MHz: available nationwide)
  • UHF (450–470 MHz: available nationwide)
  • UHF (470–512 MHz: shared with UHF-TV; available only in 11 cities)

Note: The FCC may terminate your license or issue monetary fines if your agency is not in compliance with the FCC narrowbanding requirement.

Oklahoma Narrowbanding Plan

Recognizing that the narrowbanding deadline is fast approaching and that a number of public safety agencies in the state are not in a financial position to meet the mandate by January 1, 2013, OKOHS offered a one-time opportunity in 2011 for Oklahoma public safety agencies to apply for funds from the FY 2010 Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program to be used toward the purchase of mobile and portable narrowband-capable equipment.

(Update) OKOHS received an overwhelming amount of requests for assistance. Funding was very limited, but OKOHS made every effort to assist as many applicants as possible. Approximately $475,000 total was awarded to the following agencies for the purchase of narrowband-capable mobile and portable radio equipment.

License Status Tool

The Office of Emergency Communications, along with the Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program, recently released a set of online tools enabling public safety officials to check the status of their Narrowband licenses or those of their neighboring agencies. The tool allows public safety officials to run a report and save to an excel file, search for mobiles, search by frequency and search by call sign. The FCC provides the information, and the tool is updated frequently. For best results, search specific locations—there is too much data for broad searches. 

To view the online tool, Click Here

Narrowband Tool OK County Snapshot (01.09.12)

Based on FCC Universal Licensing System (ULS) Database as of: 01/08/2012

Additional Information

FCC: Narrowbanding Website (Click Here)

Minnesota Fire Services: Radio Information (Click Here)

OKOHS Narrowbanding Basics One-Pager: (Click Here)

Vermont Communications (VCOMM): "How to Modify Your FCC License for Narrowband" (Click Here)

Narrowbanding 101 (Click Here)

Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications: "A Practical Guide to Narrowbanding" (Click Here)

Last Update September 2013


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the final date for wideband operation?
A: All radios must be narrowband by January 1, 2013.

Q: Are we forced to move to 800 MHz?
A: No. Narrowbanding does not require moving to another frequency band.

Q: Will we have to purchase new radios?
A: Depends. Most radios purchased in the last 10 years are already narrowband capable.

Q: Can I operate on a secondary basis if I do not meet the January 1, 2013 deadline?
A: No. The FCC will consider any radio equipment that does not meet the 12.5 kHz efficiency standard to be in violation of FCC rules. You may be subject to daily fines and cancellation of your license if your agency is not in narrowband by January 1, 2013.

Q: Does narrowbanding require me to convert to digital equipment?
A: No. Licensees can operate in either analog or digital formats as long as you operate at 12.5 kHz efficiency.