ANSI Approves Channel Naming Standard

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) announced the approval of the American National Standard (ANS) to ensure national consistency of interoperability on related radio channels.  APCO/NPSTC ANS 1.104.1-2010: Standard Channel Nomenclature for the Public Safety Interoperability Channel was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on June 9 and provides a standardized naming format for each Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated Interoperability Channel in Public Safety Radio Services.

“The public safety community uses spectrum allocated by the FCC and NTIA in multiple bands that is replete with interoperability channels,” APCO International Executive Director George Rice said.  “It is necessary to develop and employ a common set of channel names so that all responders to an incident know which channel to tune their radios to, as well as the band and primary use for the channel.”

NPSTC Chair Ralph A. Haller said that he was pleased to see such a positive step forward in interoperability saying, “Common interoperability channel names will help to assure that any organization responding to an emergency will be able to establish contact immediately when arriving on scene. Although the specific channel names were initially controversial, the proposed standard represents the collective efforts of public safety agencies across the country to reach consensus. NPSTC is pleased to have been instrumental in this process.”

The issue of common channel naming has been on the forefront since the mid-1980s and was again highlighted during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina.  In 2006, NPSTC reviewed and updated the Standard Channel Nomenclature recommended in the 700 MHz National Coordination Committee’s Final Report. This new protocol has been widely adopted across the country in the intervening period, and requests to the federal government resulted in finalizing standard names for similar channels in federal agency spectrum earlier this year.

APCO International is the recognized ANSI-accredited Standards Developer for public safety communications standards and was selected to facilitate the most recent version of the Standard Channel Nomenclature document through the ANSI standardization process, moving one step closer to completion of National Emergency Communications Plan milestone 3.1.33.

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications.  APCO International serves the professional needs of its 15,000 members worldwide by creating a platform for setting professional standards, addressing professional issues and providing education, products and services for people who manage, operate, maintain and supply the communications systems used by police, fire and emergency medical dispatch agencies throughout the world.  For more information, visit

NPSTC is a federation of organizations whose mission is to improve public safety communications and interoperability through collaborative leadership.  To learn more about NPSTC, visit

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