Only a few TV markets separate Sprint Nextel and the broadcast industry from completing the 2GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service relocation project, which is responsible for transitioning much of the nation’s ENG operations from analog channels to six narrower digital channels above 2025MHz.
In its latest update to the Federal Communications Commission on the project dated June 1, Sprint Nextel told the agency that 207 TV markets have been successfully relocated to the new channels. Fully 99 percent of BAS replacement equipment has been delivered, and 99 percent of stations have received all of the control systems, microwave radios and receivers, central receive antennas and other equipment needed, the update said.
All TV markets east of the Mississippi River have been relocated, and all but six west of the river have transitioned. According to the letter, in the past 60 days, the Spokane, WA; Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA; Honolulu, HI; Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque, IA; Indianapolis, IN; and Butte-Bozeman, MT, designated market areas have completed the transition. Additionally, the Lafayette, IN, market, which has been ready to transition since June 2009, made the switch with the relocation of the Indianapolis market.
The update included several appendices to provide the commission with greater detail. One detailed the status of the six markets yet to transition, but which are expected to relocate in June or July:
- Portland, OR: Oregon Public Broadcasting stations are completing installation of auxiliary power generators. Until complete, the Portland, Eugene, Klamath Falls and Bend markets can’t relocate. Sprint Nextel projects the four to relocate together during the third week of June.
- Eugene, OR, is installed and awaiting relocation.
- Medford-Klamath Falls, OR: Two stations are awaiting equipment. The market, which is technically challenging, has a large number of fixed links and difficult terrain. Portland, Eugene and Bend, OR, cannot relocate until the market is finished.
- Bend, OR: One station still must install an auxiliary power generator; otherwise, the market is fully installed.
- Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM: The market is scheduled to relocate today.
- Anchorage, AK: All equipment has been delivered, and an installer is on-site. The market is projected to be done in July.
As part of the commission update, Sprint Nextel reported it was recognized with a special award from the National Association of Broadcasters, Association for Maximum Service Television and the Society of Broadcast Engineers at the 2010 NAB Show in April in recognition of the work it has done to help broadcasters successfully transition to the new 2GHz channels.
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Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.