Take NVFC Narrowbanding Survey

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is conducting a survey to help us assess the impact of narrowbanding on volunteer emergency services communications. The survey is 24 questions long and focuses on how narrowbanding has affected paging and radio communications capabilities as well as the budgetary implications. Beginning in 2013 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) required that public safety agencies using communications systems operating below 512 MHz utilize 12.5 kHz channels instead of 25 kHz channels. Essentially, agencies were asked to reduce by half the bandwidth that they use for emergency communications.

The NVFC has been hearing from departments that their communications capabilities were degraded as a result of narrowbanding. Additionally, some NVFC members report having had to spend significant sums of money to comply with narrowbanding requirements. The idea behind the survey is to get a better understanding of the sorts of problems that agencies are facing or have faced, what they’ve done to try to address those problems, what the state of their communications capabilities are today, how much money has been spent trying to address problems, and from which source(s) that money has come.

“It is one year since all public safety agencies operating below 512 MHz were supposed to have switched over to 12.5 kHz,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “We want to hear from people how it is going and what challenges they are facing. The more respondents we get the better picture we’ll have. In any sort of self-reporting survey like this we are probably going to hear more from people who are having problems but we’d really like to hear from the full spectrum, including folks who successfully transitioned.”

Any member of the emergency services is invited to take the survey. Respondents are required to submit their name, the name of the agency they serve, their position or rank within the agency, and the state that the agency is located in.

The survey will remain open at least through the end of February, at which point the initial responses will be compiled and analyzed. Identifying information will not be distributed publicly without permission of the respondent but the content of individual responses and an overall analysis of the data may be shared with the public, congressional offices, federal policymakers potentially including the FCC, and/or other interested national organizations.

Click here to take the survey.