2GHz BAS relocation equipment deliveries approach halfway point

In its bimonthly update to the FCC on the relocation, Sprint Nextel says nearly half of all Broadcast Auxiliary Service operators in the United States have received the equipment needed to complete the project

Nearly half of all 2GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service licensees in the country possess the equipment needed to complete their relocation above 2025MHz, while 36 percent of the total have installed their new digital electronic newsgathering equipment and 30 percent have completed the transition.

The data, part of an extensive bimonthly update to the FCC from Sprint Nextel, reflects progress, although not as great as that reported in the preceding update to the commission. While installation of new 2GHz BAS equipment has risen 300 percent from a year ago, and cutover to the new band plan is up 650 percent for the same period, the strain on newsgathering resources required to cover the elections and the reluctance of some broadcasters to relocate during the Oct. 30-Nov. 26 ratings sweeps period held back progress when compared to the last report, the company said.

According to the filing, 98.6 percent of frequency relocation agreements (FRAs) are complete or are awaiting a final review from the BAS licensee or compliance with state law. For example, in New Jersey, four public broadcasters, WNJB, WNJN, WNJS and WNJT, have not yet completed their FRAs because of the state’s contract-bidding procedures. The agreements have been delayed two years while state regulators figure out the best way to apply New Jersey’s anticorruption laws to the project. The company said it is considering workarounds, including transitioning the rest of the affected markets’ broadcasters while the four public broadcasters maintain existing facilities but operate them on a secondary basis.

Sprint Nextel also reported progress with KGTF in Guam since its last FCC filing. Although Sprint Nextel has worked with the station for three years to advance its relocation, the station’s “actions had indicated a desire to decline to transition,” according to the company. However, since the last report, Sprint Nextel and KGTF have agreed to specific transition milestones, which if met will result in a timely transition.

For more information, visit www.2ghzrelocation.com.