The Society of Broadcast Engineers has committed itself to assisting Nextel with the successful completion of the 2GHz rebanding plan for broadcast auxiliary service incumbents, according to an SBE statement last week.
Under the plan, BAS Channels 1 through 7, each 17MHz with the exception of Channel 1, will be reduced to 12MHz channels and moved.
Reducing the available channel bandwidth by 25 percent or more while preserving comparable facilities for broadcasters and other incumbent users will require a massive technological transformation throughout the broadcasting industry in less than three years’ time, according to the statement.
“Nextel recognized SBE's established reputation in frequency coordination, making this joint effort a natural fit,” said SBE president Raymond Benedict. “We expect that our involvement will help smooth what could be a difficult transition.”
The SBE has an extensive track record in the 2GHz reallocation matter. Throughout the FCC proceeding, which resulted in Nextel’s involvement, SBE worked to defend the interests of broadcasters and ensure a fair and equitable relocation procedure.
When the FCC issued earlier orders that would have treated small- to medium-market stations substantially worse than top-30 market stations in the relocation process, SBE drew upon the expertise of SBE volunteer local frequency coordinators to document how the initial a plan would disrupt the timely dissemination of local news to portions of the public.
The SBE is acting as a consultant to Nextel to ensure the smoothest possible 2GHz relocation to the new channel plan — the channel plan which SBE proposed in its comments filed with the commission and which the FCC adopted in November 2003.
In the months leading up to Nextel’s formal acceptance, engineers in more than a dozen major markets have had the opportunity to learn about Nextel’s proposal in meetings arranged and facilitated by local volunteer frequency coordinators.
SBE Frequency Coordination Director David Otey, who is also the Society’s primary liaison with Nextel’s BAS relocation team, will support local volunteers in this effort. Through the involvement of market-based frequency coordinators, SBE will facilitate communication between broadcasters and the Nextel project team.