Commission broadens reach of BAS relocation

The FCC took action Oct. 3 that clears the way for Sprint Nextel to receive credit in the 800MHz true-up process for additional Broadcast Auxiliary Service licensees with licenses issued prior to Nov. 12, 2004.

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) released Oct. 5, the commission addressed a petition filed by Sprint Nextel, MSTV and NAB to rectify a situation in which the telecommunications giant was not allowed to receive credit for relocating BAS licensees licensed after June 27, 2000, but before Nov. 22, 2004.

According to the MO&O, the commission previously decided BAS facilities could operate on a primary basis until relocated by MSS licensees if the “receipt date of the initial application was prior to June 27, 2000,” the date the commission adopted the MSS Second Report and Order. Stations filing BAS applications after that date were considered to be operating on a “secondary basis.”

A long-standing commission rule does not allow “secondary operations to cause harmful interference to primary operations nor claim protection from harmful interference from primary operations.” As a secondary operation, the cost of relocating these BAS licensees also was not made part of Sprint Nextel’s obligation.

However, Sprint Nextel volunteered to pay the relocation costs of these BAS licensees — those that filed between June 27, 2000, and Nov. 22, 2004 — as long as it received credit for those costs in the 800MHz true-up process.

In their petition, Sprint Nextel, MSTV and NAB argued that it was in the public interest to grant their request because “if there are few (or no) BAS incumbents left in a particular market that could interfere with or otherwise complicate the deployment of Nextel’s operations in the band, it would help ensure that the BAS relocation is completed without complication by 2007.”

The commission granted the request noting that the cost of relocating these BAS licensees is projected to be relatively small — about 4.5 percent of the estimated total cost of BAS relocation — if the estimate from Sprint Nextel, MSTV and NAB prove accurate.

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