Land-mobile frequency coordinators met this week with the Federal Communications Commission to discuss how to handle licenses for systems in the VHF and UHF band that did not comply with the Jan. 1 narrowbanding deadline. Late last year, frequency coordinators recommended ignoring such systems when coordinating the new systems after Feb. 1, according to Klaus Bender, the Utilities Telecom Council’s (UTC) senior director of standards and engineering, who released notes of the meeting publicly.
“This information is tentative and will be confirmed in a soon to be released public notice,” Bender said in an e-mail.
There are two cases of non-compliance, Bender said. Those licensees who modified their equipment but never filed applications will be given a chance to file applications to update their licenses. Licensees who did not make the changes will be given one last chance to tell the FCC what they plan to do or cancel their license. These licensees could be subject to enforcement action, he said.
In the interim, non-compliant wide band systems will be considered as narrow band, meaning new adjacent channels operations could potentially interfere with those non-compliant systems,” Bender said.
The FCC said at the meeting that most licenses are now narrowband compliant, but the agency continues to receive waiver requests for the narrowband deadline. Bender said the commission staff urged licensees who may have narrowbanded but did not file an application to file it now, as there already are backlogs at licensing facilities.
It will likely take until the end of the first quarter to clear some of these applications, Bender said. At that time, they will consider an audit of non-compliant systems, giving those licensees one last chance to comply or cancel their licenses.
The FCC also would like to establish a single point of contact at its Enforcement Bureau related to narrowband compliance issues, but has yet to do so, Bender said.
In the meantime, per FCC attorneys, coordinators cannot just ignore those licenses.
Until further notice, these non-compliant wide band systems will be considered as analog compliant narrowband with an emission designator similar to 11K2F3E,” Bender added.
The FCC anticipates a public notice on the topic will be issued within the next few weeks.