Have you upgraded your onboard tech to 4G or 5G yet? That is the question asked by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with the final sunset date for 3G networks only weeks away.
Most mobile cellular providers have already shut down their 3G networks, with only Verizon remaining to close out on Dec. 31. AT&T shut down its 3G on Feb. 22, and T-Mobile did the same on July 1.
With the start of 2023, any device that requires 3G cellular connectivity to perform its functions will not be in compliance with the technical specifications in the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule.
“When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction,” the FMCSA reminded users on Tuesday. “In accordance with 49 CFR 395.34, the carrier has eight days to get the malfunction resolved, in this case by replacement, unless an extension is granted.”
Be ready to upgrade tech
To prepare for the switch, the FMCSA advised contacting the cellular provider to determine if the device in question relies on a 3G network and meets all minimum requirements. If it does, the FMCSA said to ask about upgrading or replacing the device so it would be supported.
“FMCSA strongly encourages motor carriers to take the above actions as soon as possible to avoid compliance issues,” the agency added.
Announced sunset dates have been in the works for several years, and many carriers have already upgraded their devices. An online School Transportation News survey of readers in April found that 60% of website visitors said their operations were prepared for the sunset.
When looking to upgrade devices, experts advise that as of now 5G isn’t a practical solution for the school bus industry because commercial vehicles don’t transmit enough data. Instead, 4G is the more economical route to take.
Reprinted with permission from School Transportation News. Read the original post.