Several licensees operating public-safety systems below 512 MHz are expected to file waiver requests with the FCC in the near future, according to an agency official.

As of today, only three licensees had narrowbanding waiver requests that appear in the electronic filing database, but many more are in process and should be posted soon — for instance, some may be arriving via regular mail, the FCC official said.

“We certainly have more than three,” the official said. “We’ve got a number of others, and we’ll post them soon.”

Under the FCC’s narrowbanding mandate, licensees of systems operating below 512 MHz are required to alter their systems to use 12.5 kHz channels instead of the traditional 25 kHz channels by the end of this year. Although the agency has made the requirement known for years, many cash-strapped public-safety entities have indicated that they will have difficulty finding the funds necessary to pay for equipment that meets the narrowbanding rules.

In August, an FCC official speaking at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) conference said that the agency wanted any narrowbanding waiver requests to be filed before the end of 2011, so the FCC would have enough time act on it prior to the narrowbanding deadline. However, the FCC official today reminded that the end-of-2011 request “was a recommendation, not a deadline.”