The business band is the name used by U.S. radio users who utilize and scanner hobbyists who listen to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Industrial/Business pool frequencies. The regulations listing frequencies in this pool are contained in Subpart C of Part 90, Title 47 of the CFR.
The pool describes a series of frequencies on the VHF and UHF two-way radio bands. They are reserved for use by companies and individuals operating commercial activities; educational, philanthropic, or ecclesiastical institutions; clergy activities or hospitals, clinics, or medical associations. In the United States, use of these frequencies requires a license issued by the U.S. FCC. The exceptions to this are five specific frequencies that are also part of the Multi-Use Radio Service, which permits unlicensed operation on these frequencies, provided the output power does not exceed 2 watts. There are also other frequencies such as citizen's band and Family Radio Service that may be used without a license.
Channels are available in several frequency ranges to suit the users' requirements for propagation and protection from interference. The electromagnetic spectrum between approximately 450 and 470 MHz is used largely for UHF business communications, although this spectrum is not exclusively for business use. In some large metropolitan areas, such as New York, the UHF-T band (between 470 and 512 MHz) is also used, due to congestion on the standard VHF or UHF bands. There are also a number of specific frequencies, in both the VHF and UHF spectrum, that are for business use; some of these have color-coded names, such as Blue Dot or Red Star.
In 2004, the FCC required all CFR 47 Part 90 VHF (150–174 MHz) and UHF (421–470 MHz) PLMR (Private Land Mobile Radio) licensees operating legacy wideband (25 kHz bandwidth) voice or data/SCADA systems to migrate to narrowband (12.5 kHz bandwidth or equivalent) systems by January 1, 2013.
The Private Land Mobile Radio Service (47CFR90, or Part 90 of the FCC Rules) was established in the US in 1927 to permit commercial and public safety uses of two-way radio by commercial entities and non-Federal government agencies. Similar allocations are available in other countries. The available frequencies in the US have traditionally been separated into two pools. One is for industrial and business users, including some special categories such as petroleum, manufacturing and forestry; the other is for public safety including medical, police, fire and others. The industrial and business frequencies, sometimes also known as "business band radio" and the eligibility requirements are listed in 47CFR90.35. Frequencies are licensed on a non-exclusive basis, although fixed stations and mobiles operating in a defined area are issued licenses only following frequency coordination to assure equitable sharing of bandwidth. Anyone conducting commercial business or a number of other activities is eligible for a license.
Other general-purpose two-way radio services with simplified licensing requirements have also been established over the years in the US including GMRS and citizen's band, the latter now being licensed by rule, so that users don't need individual licenses. FRS and MURS are similar pools of frequencies that do not require individual licenses in the USA. There is a similar group of low-power, unlicensed two-way frequencies in other countries, such as PMR446 in Europe and UHF CB in Australia.
Although the term "business band" refers to several discrete frequencies that are not grouped into a single band, examples of some of the frequencies are grouped by band and listed below. These charts also list other frequencies not specifically part of the "business band" but commonly used by businesses. An individual license is still required under GMRS rules. A few manufacturers added these DOT frequencies to Business radios in the 1990s to have more "channels" and aid in selling radios. Part 90 (Business) and Part 95 (GMRS) frequencies are not interchangeable and are not to be used under the same guidelines. Each has different criteria for licensing. Part 95 GMRS frequencies are not "Itinerant", nor business band frequencies.
|27.430 MHz to 27.530 MHz||20 kHz channel steps|
|27.555 MHz||Authorized only in certain areas for Forestry and Logging operations|
|27.615 MHz||Authorized only in certain areas for Forestry and Logging operations|
|27.635 MHz||Authorized only in certain areas for Forestry and Logging operations|
|27.655 MHz||Authorized only in certain areas for Forestry and Logging operations|
|27.765 MHz||Authorized only in certain areas for Forestry and Logging operations|
|27.860 MHz||Authorized only in certain areas for Forestry and Logging operations|
|29.710 MHz to 29.790 MHz||20 kHz channel steps|
|30.580 MHz to 31.960 MHz||20 kHz channel steps, shared with State Forestry in some areas|
|33.120 MHz to 33.400 MHz||20 kHz channel steps, some low–power–only frequencies|
|35.020 MHz to 35.980 MHz||20 kHz channel steps, some low–power–only frequencies|
|37.440 MHz to 37.880 MHz||20 kHz channel steps, often used for power and water company communications|
|42.960 MHz to 44.600 MHz||20 kHz channel steps, some low–power and/or itinerant frequencies|
|47.440 MHz to 49.580 MHz||20 kHz channel steps|
|151.5125 MHz||Itinerant (narrow band)|
|Red Dot||151.625 MHz||Itinerant|
|151.820 MHz||Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS); 2 watts, 11.25 kHz bandwidth|
|151.880 MHz||Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS); 2 watts, 11.25 kHz bandwidth|
|151.940 MHz||Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS); 2 watts, 11.25 kHz bandwidth|
|Purple Dot||151.955 MHz|
|Blue Dot||154.570 MHz||Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS); 2 watts, 20 kHz bandwidth|
|Green Dot||154.600 MHz||Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS); 2 watts, 20 kHz bandwidth|
|158.4075 MHz||Itinerant (narrow band)|
UHF and GMRS frequencies
|White Dot||462.575 MHz||GMRS|
|Black Dot||462.625 MHz||GMRS|
|Orange Dot||462.675 MHz||GMRS|
|Brown Dot||464.500 MHz||Itinerant|
|Yellow Dot||464.550 MHz||Itinerant|
|Silver Star||467.850 MHz|
|Gold Star||467.875 MHz|
|Red Star||467.900 MHz|
|Blue Star||467.925 MHz|
|(Brown dpx)||469.500 MHz||Itinerant|
|(Yellow dpx)||469.550 MHz||Itinerant|
- Fawcett, Bill. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Blue Dot Radios... But Were Afraid to Ask, Spaniel Journal
- Section 90.35 of the FCC rules
- FCC Order issued in December 2004
- "FCC: Wireless Services: Private Land Mobile Radio Services: Private Land Mobile". Wireless.fcc.gov. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- Section 90.20 of the FCC rules
- "FCC: Wireless Services: Industrial/Business: Licensing: Frequency Coordinators". Wireless.fcc.gov. 2014-02-05. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)". FCC.gov. 1987-07-31. Retrieved 2014-06-06.