Peoria County Granted Narrowbanding Waiver (10/15/12)
Monday, October 15, 2012 | Comments

The Peoria County (Ill.) Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) was granted a waiver of the FCC narrowbanding deadline until June 30, 2014. The FCC’s VHF/UHF narrowbanding deadline requires private LMR licensees in the 150 – 174 MHz and 450 – 512 MHz bands to operate using channel bandwidth of no more than 12.5-kilohertz or equivalent efficiency, by Jan. 1, 2013.

ETSB manages and represents the communications needs for public-safety and non-public-safety users within Peoria County, and sought a waiver of the deadline on behalf of several county agencies that will migrate from 78 VHF and UHF radio authorizations to a new countywide 700/800 MHz system. The waiver will allow these agencies to avoid the expense of narrowbanding systems they will decommission (and in many cases surrender) after they transition to the new system, the filing said.

In 2006, ETSB released a request for proposal for a countywide interoperable radio system and awarded a contract to Harris in September 2007. The system is funded by a combination of dedicated local funds and federal grants. ETSB anticipates the system will be ready Aug. 31, 2013, and all agencies will have completed their transfer to the system by March 31, 2014.

As of August, ETSB applied for 800 MHz frequencies from the relevant National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) region, completed all work associated with the radio transmit sites regarding surveys, soil borings and construction plans, and was nearly ready to commence construction of new towers and shelters. ETSB was also in the process of evaluating microwave system proposals for the new system and anticipated awarding the contract at its Nov. 7, 2012 board meeting.

On Jan. 27, 2012, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) issued a public notice seeking comment on the waiver request. No party filed comments in support or in opposition of the request. The FCC concluded that the county’s request warrants waiver relief because it has demonstrated that the underlying purpose of the narrowbanding deadline — to promote spectrum efficiency and increase available capacity — would not be served by strict application to the present case, and that a grant of the waiver would be in the public interest, the order said.

Accordingly, the FCC granted on the waiver of the FCC’s Jan. 1, 2013, VHF/UHF narrowbanding deadline for the agencies and call signs listed in Appendix A until June 30, 2014.

Read the notice here.

Your comments are welcome, click here.

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