Arizona Water Receives 1-Year Narrowbanding Delay (7/30/12)
The FCC granted the narrowbanding waiver request of Arizona Water, giving the company another year to operate using mobile radio channel bandwidths of no more than 12.5 kilohertz or equivalent efficiency.
In June, the company asked for the extension for 41 private land mobile radio (PLMR) stations.
Arizona Water provides water service to more than 84,000 customers in 22 water systems throughout Arizona. Its water systems are located in mostly rural areas with diverse geographic and topographic settings. The company’s voice and telemetry radio systems consist of about 148 mobile or handheld voice radios, 13 voice radio base stations and 70 telemetry radios.
“We conclude, under the circumstances presented, that strict enforcement of the deadline would be inequitable, unduly burdensome, and contrary to the public interest,” the order said. “Based on the record before us, we conclude that Arizona Water has presented sufficient facts to meet the high standard for grant of the requested waiver.”
The FCC said the record showed that the company has been diligently preparing for the transition to narrowbanding by inspecting every piece of its radio equipment, securing contractors to perform reprogramming of designated equipment and preparing a detailed schedule for the transition. The company already committed most of the necessary funds for the narrowbanding implementation, with the remaining funds to be allocated in 2013.
Because most of the company’s voice and telemetry radios are not narrowband-capable, the replacement of entire control system installations is necessary throughout Arizona. The reprogramming or replacement of the equipment will require securing qualified technicians, who are of limited availability in the company’s service areas, the order said.
Strict application of the narrowbanding rules could result in interruption of the company’s communications, putting the public health and safety at risk, the FCC said. “Based on the size and complexity of the new system, and the necessity to maintain public utility water service to rural communities, we conclude that the 12-month waiver period requested by the company is no more than is reasonably necessary to complete narrowbanding,” said the order.
In addition, it doesn’t appear that grant of the waiver will significantly harm neighboring systems. The company operates in rural areas, and doesn’t indicate that it has any interoperability or interdependence with other radio systems, the FCC said.
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