FCC to Decommission Two Optional Narrowbanding Modification Application Tools
Monday, November 16, 2020 | Comments

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications and Public Safety and Homeland Security bureaus announced that they will decommission a pair of optional private LMR application filing tools Dec. 18.

Since 2013, all VHF/UHF industrial/business and public-safety radio pool licensees in the 150 – 174 MHz and 421 – 470 MHz bands have been required to operate on channels with a maximum bandwidth of 12.5 kilohertz or equivalent efficiency, unless they are operating under the terms of a waiver. The two bureaus have taken a number of steps to ensure that licensees are aware of this narrowbanding requirement and to assist licensees in updating their license information to reflect narrowband operations.

In particular, the commission developed and made two optional tools to simplify the filing of certain types of narrowbanding modification applications available in its Universal Licensing System (ULS). The two tools are the Modify Wideband Emissions tool, and the Remove Wideband Emissions tool. Licensees of approximately 80,000 stations have used these tools to comply with the commission’s narrowbanding requirement. The number of licensees submitting applications using these tools has decreased dramatically over recent years, as more than 80% of required call signs are estimated to have completed their narrowbanding. These tools are seldom used today as a result.

The bureaus said decommissioning of the tools is in the public interest. The number of filers has decreased significantly and there are now alternative mechanisms to file these applications for any remaining callsigns in need of narrowbanding. Moreover, the ease of use of the ULS Online Filing systems has improved since these tools were introduced such that there is no continued need to maintain these tools to accommodate any remaining late filers. If the tools were not decommissioned, the commission would have to invest further funds in migrating the tools as part of its ongoing ULS modernization effort and to meet network security requirements. Given that these tools no longer are necessary, the substantial government costs to maintain and upgrade these tools no longer is justified.

Licensees seeking to update their licenses to modify or remove wideband emission designators can continue filing modification applications using ULS Online Filing rather than the Modify Wideband Emission tool or the Remove Wideband Emissions tool. Filers are reminded that applications filed solely for the purpose of removing wideband emission designators do not require frequency coordination or payment of commission fees.

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