OVERLAND PARK, KAN.:
Sprint Nextel announced today that it finally finished the BAS transition. The
company was directed to move the broadcast auxiliary services of nearly 1,000
TV stations after being allotted the spectrum in the 2 GHz band those
operations occupied. The project commenced in 2005 and was originally supposed
to be completed by September 2007, but proved far more complicated than
Sprint spent around $750 million on more than 100,000 pieces of gear to move
the BAS operations. Nearly 1,000 engineers, tower climbers, technicians and
support personnel worked on the project. Microwave and electronic newsgathering
equipment had to be replaced or retuned to work in a smaller amount of
“Sprint’s completion of the BAS spectrum transition marks an important step
toward President Obama’s goal of freeing 500 MHz of additional wireless
broadband spectrum,” said Michael B. Degitz, vice president of spectrum
management for Sprint.
Sprint said it notified the Federal Communications Commission of the project’s
completion in a July 15 filing when it completed the Anchorage,
Alaska market. Anchorage was the last of 213 markets to be transitioned. The
FCC granted Sprint several deadline extensions to complete the project.
The BAS transition was part of a $4.8 billion deal Sprint Nextel brokered with the FCC in 2004,
to move from 800 MHz into the 2 GHz band. Sprint’s operations in 800 MHz were
bumping up against public-safety users. The FCC agreed to let Sprint move into
a spectrum block at 1,190-1,195 MHz--considered the 2 GHz band.
Broadcasters with remote newsgathering operations were affected. They had to
submit detailed equipment requests to Sprint to be compensated for the move.
Nearly 1,000 across the United States and Puerto Rico did so.
“There was no disruption of broadcasting service during any part of the
five-year project,” Sprint said, earning industry kudos.
“The National Association of Broadcasters congratulates Sprint on completing the
Herculean task of transitioning the broadcast auxiliary services to a new, more
efficient spectrum plan in the 2 GHz frequency band,” said NAB chief Gordon
Smith in Sprint’s statement announcing the completion. “During this process,
NAB’s members worked closely with Sprint’s network of engineers, technicians
and other skilled personnel. We applaud the successful result that we all
achieved, despite the highly complex, comprehensive nature of the BAS
David Donovan, head of the Association for Maximum Service Television called
the project “a textbook example of cross-industry cooperation.”
“These BAS systems are critical in serving local communities,” he said. “Because
each system is unique, relocating them required a tremendous amount of engineering
We want to congratulate the broadcast-engineering community, especially those
who served as MSTV-sponsored market captains, for their tireless efforts.”
Vinny Lopez of the Society of Broadcast Engineers said the group’s “national
network of volunteer frequency coordinators, with unique and valuable BAS
information, was a key factor in Sprint’s facilitation of an effective
transition to a new, efficient digital platform for stations to provide vital
news and information to the public. The Society’s partnership with Sprint in
this effort is a great example of how all broadcast engineers serve and support
our industry and make technology work for business, government and
Sprint says it’s the nation’s first provider of 4G services and reported having
around 48 million wireless subscribers at the end of 1Q10.
-- Deborah D. McAdams