Nextel, NAB, MSTV seek modification to 2GHz plan

The group filed a request with the FCC to modify the 2GHz relocation plan to include stations that acquired Broadcast Auxiliary Service licenses between June 26, 2000, and Nov. 23, 2004
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Nextel, NAB and the Association for Maximum Service Television requested that the FCC issue a declaratory ruling or clarification that TV Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) licensees that filed for an operators license after June 26, 2000, but before Nov. 23, 2004, should be included in the reimbursement plan for 2GHz relocation.

In its commission filing, the group said that not doing so would threaten the successful implementation of the 2GHz relocation effort, which has an FCC-imposed completion deadline of September 2007.

The group is seeking the declaratory ruling because as part of the commission’s Report and Order instituting the 2GHz relocation, the FCC retained certain relocation rules it had previously adopted in a proceeding related to Mobile Satellite Service (MSS). Those rules allowed BAS facilities with an initial license application date prior to June 27, 2000, to qualify for reimbursement by MSS licensees. Those filed after that date did not qualify for reimbursement. The group is asking the commission to extend reimbursement qualification for those BAS licensees to Nov. 23, 2004, the date of the 2GHz Report and Order.

In the filing, the group used WTTW, a noncommercial station in Chicago, as an example of a station that applied for a BAS license during the window of time in question. The station “will need to spend approximately $285,000 to modify and replace its current BAS equipment to operate on the new band plan,” the filing said. The station will have a hard time coming up with the funds, the group said.

“Many other post June-2000 licensees will face similar challenges,” the group said. The challenges will create “extensive delays” in relocation or prevent the relocation entirely.

Not only is the group seeking reimbursement for these stations, it has also asked the commission to allow Nextel to include the costs of this added relocation expense in the total that the U.S. government will credit towards the company’s acquisition costs of “replacement spectrum” at 1910MHz to 1915MHz and 1990MHz to 1995MHz. The FCC has valued that spectrum $4.86 billion.

Additionally, the group asked the commission for a declaratory ruling or clarification that Nextel is not required to reimburse BAS licensees for “incremental” equipment purchased after Nov. 22, 2004. The filing noted one exception provided three conditions are met:

  • the acquisition was needed to replace or repair malfunctioning equipment;
  • the licensee informs Nextel when the need to replace or repair equipment arises;
  • the licensee returns the replaced equipment to Nextel.