Carbon County officials need an answer from the county's municipalities today on whether or not they are interested in a county-wide attempt at securing funding for a communications mandate.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein reminded all municipalities that have not yet responded to the county's offer to help with replacing radios for the narrowbanding requirement, to do so immediately.

So far 12 municipalities have responded, stating that they are interested in partnering with the county in the hopes of securing a grant to help offset the costs for the upgrade.

Nothstein said that the county will plan a meeting for all interested municipalities in the next two weeks. He requests that a representative from each of these municipalities, as well as a representative from the emergency services in that municipality that will be affected attend the meeting.

The narrowbanding project came about after the Federal Communications Commission created a mandate that will make more radio frequencies. The deadline for the changeover is Jan. 1, 2013.

According to the FCC website, "On Jan. 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 will allow the creation of additional channel capacity within the same radio spectrum, and support more users."

This means that police, fire companies, emergency personnel, and public works, as well as others, will be affected.

If a municipality has not yet responded to the county and would like to be involved in the grant application for replacement radios, they can do so by calling the Carbon County Commissioners office at (570) 325-3611.