Narrowband Overview Statement
In 1995 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rule changes with the intention of promoting a more efficient use of Private Land Mobile Radio (PLMR) services. These rule changes would allow for the advancement of technology, as well as promote the transition of existing wide band channels (25 KHz) to a more efficient narrowband channel (12.5 KHz) plan resulting in a reduction of excessive adjacent channel interference. Furthermore, in addition to reduction of channel interference through the use of technology and narrow banding, there is also the potential of increased frequency spectrum availability. Since the initial 1995 changes, over the next several years, there were additional ruling changes made specific to future plans for the use of equipment, which would only operate on 12.5 kHz or narrower channels. During this extended time period the FCC did not set a date to indicate when it would no longer approve for manufacture or operation of equipment with wide band mode. It was the Commissions feeling, migration to narrow band would occur as existing systems became obsolete and required replacement. As systems and equipment required replacement users would then upgrade equipment and migrate to narrow band compliant equipment. However, in February of 2003 the FCC released a second report in the initial proceedings of 1995. In this second ruling, the Commission felt the current rules did not promote adequate incentive to promote their desired efficiency of spectrum use and stronger action would be required. Through this second ruling, the Commission imposed a timeline with defined dates for meeting compliance with the FCC narrow banding regulations. These bench mark dates were developed in order to insure a timely transition to the use of frequency spectrum in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands. Through these months/years of discussion and deliberation, the most important date to come out was the deadline/ official date for compliance, which is January 1, 2013.
Clinton County Government's Narrowband Activity
With an imposed deadline of January 1, 2013, Clinton County Government through its Department of Emergency Services has embarked on an aggressive three (3) year plan to meet this FCC mandate. The Clinton County Department of Emergency Services (CCDES) in cooperation with its consultant is currently working through a number of administrative functions with respect to transitioning its current public safety radio system to narrow band compliance. For Clinton County, this process began in early 2010 with a review and needs assessment of the County's existing public safety radio system. This review and assessment consisted of input from the public safety community (fire, EMS, law enforcement, emergency management and 9-1-1) through a formal interview and survey process and propagation studies completed by the County's consultant. The data obtained through the needs assessment allowed DES in conjunction with its consultant to determine not only equipment needs and improvements to become narrow band compliant, but also helped to identify areas where potential coverage concerns may exist as a result of the transition to narrow band. The details and information obtained through the needs assessment were shared with the various system users and county government officials in late 2010. CCDES and its consultant are using 2011 to work through a number of administrative items in preparation for a proposed transition to narrow band by late in 2012. During 2011 CCDES will be working thorough issues related to FCC licensing, as well as finalizing radio system design and needs. This information will be used in the development of a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) to receive bids for upgrade of Clinton County's Public Safety Radio System. Provided that all of the pieces fall into place, CCDES will hope to begin formal construction of its upgraded radio system in early 2012. With amount of work needing done at our various tower sites as well as within the 9-1-1 center, we anticipate cutover and acceptance to our new radio system sometime during November of 2012.
Clinton County Department of Emergency Services
22 Cree Drive
Lock Haven, PA 17745
Fax: (570) 893-4048
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