FCC Licensing

Northway Communications has a fully trained staff that is experienced in making the process of applying for an FCC license smooth and timely. Please contact us for more information on this FCC regulation or call our office at 715-842-0841 with any licensing questions that you may have.

On January 1, 2013, all public safety and business industrial land mobile radio systems operating in the 150-512 MHz radio bands must cease operating using 25 kHz efficiency technology, and begin operating using at least 12.5 kHz efficiency technology. This deadline is the result of an FCC effort that began almost two decades ago to ensure more efficient use of the spectrum and greater spectrum access for public safety and non-public safety users. Migration to 12.5 kHz efficiency technology (once referred to as Refarming, but now referred to as Narrowbanding) will allow the creation of additional channel capacity within the same radio spectrum, and support more users.

After January 1, 2013, licensees not operating at 12.5 KHz efficiency will be in violation of the Commission's rules and could be subject to FCC enforcement action, which may include admonishment, monetary fines, or loss of license.

What is the FCC?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934, and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC’s jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. possessions.

What is Narrowbanding?

Private land mobile radio (LMR) systems - including municipal government and State and local public safety systems - use blocks of radio spectrum called channels. Historically, LMR systems have used 25 kHz-wide channels. In December 2004, the Federal Communications Commission mandated that all private LMR users operating below 512 MHz move to 12.5 kHz narrowband voice channels and highly efficient data channel operations by January 1, 2013. This migration complements a National Telecommunications and Information Administration mandate for more rapid Federal agency migration to 12.5 kHz narrowband operation by January 1, 2008. The earlier Federal deadline affects State and local FCC licensees that interface or share frequencies with Federal radio systems.

Are there penalties for using radios without an FCC license?

Yes, the FCC’s policy statement #91-217 (effective August 1, 1991), established fines upwards of $8,000.00 per day for unlicensed and/or improperly licensed radio systems. There are various other fines that can also be charged.