Sprint, Broadcasters Request BAS Transition Extension
As expected, Sprint Nextel has filed a request with the FCC asking that this month's deadline for completing the BAS transition be extended.
In a joint filing with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), and the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), Sprint Nextel is requesting that the deadline be extended to January 2010, 29 months from now. Sprint Nextel is financing the transition, which will move broadcasters using the current seven-channel 17 MHz channel plan to a new seven channel 12 MHz channel plan, which extends from 2025 to 2110.
The transition, which began two years ago, has spawned mountains of paperwork, and Sprint Nextel says nearly all of the nation's nearly 1,000 BAS stations have completed their inventories, which is a critical step in the transition. However, so far, only two markets, Lima Ohio and Yuma, Ariz. have made the switch.
Sprint Nextel said that issues such as training, installation and reconfiguration have presented challenges that go "beyond the control" of the broadcast industry and Sprint Nextel.
"Awarding an additional twenty-nine months for Sprint Nextel and the BAS licensees to overcome the unanticipated obstacles and complexities they have faced will not only provide for the most expeditious relocation of the BAS licensees possible, but also ensure that viewers around the nation can continue to receive important local news, weather and sports reports from the field," the filing stated.