All Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) licensees eligible for the 2GHz BAS relocation have submitted their quote packages to Sprint Nextel for replacement digital microwave equipment, and 97 percent have entered into frequency relocation agreements (FRAs) with the telecommunications firm, the company reported to the FCC.
While not directly enabling HD electronic newsgathering, the relocation project, when complete, will enable broadcasters to transmit digital live shots from the field — an essential component to taking on HD ENG operations. As of the filing, 55 markets have completed the transition, up from 19 markets in April.
The tally of equipment quotes and FRAs was part of a more extensive bimonthly filing the company submitted to the commission Oct.1, as required under an agreement the company and BAS licensees reached with the FCC to extend the initial deadline for completion of the project.
The filing also sheds light on the scope of converting major TV markets to the new digital band plan. In Chicago, which completed its BAS relocation in late September, replacement of microwave equipment included 20 portable receivers and 74 portable transmitters as well as that used in or at 56 mobile trucks, 40 central receive sites, 10 production studios, six helicopters and two fixed links.
On Sept. 13, the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., market converted to the new band plan, the report said. New microwave equipment for that conversion included more than 100 portable BAS transmitters as well as gear for 64 news trucks, six helicopters and nearly two dozen fixed links.