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.
In Simple English: Two-way radio systems must be more effecient by 2013 or lose their licence to operate.
Digital Land Mobile Radio (LMR)
Much like the old "bag phones" changed over to digital handsets in the last decade, LMR users are moving to digital technologies to achieve greater efficiency and free up valuable radio spectrum for other users. Radio spectrum is a limited and very valuable commodity in our increasingly wireless world.
APCO Project 25 (P25)
As public safety organizations and government agencies evaluate their mission-critical, narrowband two-way radio system needs for the future, many practitioners and operators are reaching similar conclusions:
- Radio spectrum is becoming more congested
- Systems require increased voice and data functionality
- Improved voice quality is essential over extended coverage areas
- Secure communications is a growing necessity
- Equipment migration must be feasible
- Users primarily include public safety, but may include others
- Independent assessment of equipment compliance is needed
- Interoperability has become critical to achieve
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials - International, Inc. (APCO International) is committed to making the selection process easier through APCO Project 25 (P25), a long-standing partnership between the public safety communications community and industry manufacturers whose goal is to satisfy the complex and evolving mission-critical communication needs of users for interoperable, narrowband Land Mobile Radio (LMR) equipment and systems.