Let me tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, there was a self storage business in Reno, Nevada, named Emigrant Storage. Like many self storage businesses, they use two-way radios for communication between workers in their office and those out among the storage units. Everything was going just fine. That is until the Federal Communications Commission levied a $20,000 fine for using those two-way radios.
The FCC established a new ruling that affected broadbanding and narrowbanding radio frequencies. The new ruling went into effect on January 1, 2013, It stated that industrial, business, and land mobile radio systems that operated in the 150-512 MHZ radio bands must cease operating using 25 kHz and begin operating at least at the 12.5 kHz level. This was because that broadband width was set aside for public safety users such as police, fire, swat teams, etc.
Businesses not operating at the 12.5 KHz efficiency after January 1, 2013, would be in violation of the FCC rules and would be subject to ‘admonishment, monetary fines, or loss of license.’
Emigrant Storage got fined $20,000. That’s a hefty fine!
The FCC has recently ramped up their enforcement for finding businesses that are in violation of this change. They have requested – and received – from the government over $52 million so they could purchase new radio direction finding vehicles and electronic monitoring equipment. They are now going around ferreting out those who are not in compliance. They are also looking at the license the businesses have and fining those whose license has expired.
If you use two-way radios for your self storage business, you may share an operating frequency with other users. But you wouldn’t have a clue about it until one of those peoples had a problem with their system and reported it to the FCC. The FCC would check out the situation, which could then lead to one of those hefty fines.
There are two things that you can learn from Emigrant Storage’s experience. First, check to see what bandwidth your two-way radios are operating on. If they are still on a broadband frequency, you will need to get new equipment that is set to the narrowband of 12.5kHz level or less.
Second, check what your operating license. Sometimes what happens is that one of the self storage employees gets the license in their name. Then, that person leaves the self storage business. The license expires but nobody realizes that it needs to be renewed because that person no longer works for the business.
A good precaution would be to have the owner, the manager, and the accountant be aware of when the license needs to be renewed. The more people aware of the renewal date the better because then the renewal will not get over looked. And then, you won’t get a hefty fine from the FCC.
“Write a Check for $20,000. Right Now.” Urgent Communications; 24 June 2014.
VHF/UHF Narrowbanding Information. Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.