Commission extends 2GHz BAS relocation deadline till Feb. 4

The FCC extended a waiver of its Jan. 4 deadline by 30 days for the completion of the Sprint Nextel-led 2GHz relocation of Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) licensees to frequencies above 2025MHz.

The latest waiver is the third the commission has granted as it seeks to find a way to proceed. The commission originally gave Sprint Nextel and 2GHz BAS licensees 31.5 months, ending Sept. 7, 2007, to complete their relocation of BAS channels 1-7 to 12MHz wide digital channels between 2025MHz and 2110MHz.

However, the effort has proven a more complex task than originally envisioned. As of Jan. 15, the Web site run by Sprint Nextel reported that 61 percent of broadcasters nationwide had completed contracts with the company for the relocation.

The problem for the commission with the delay is that other companies, including T-Mobile and mobile satellite service (MSS) licensees, such as TerreStar Networks and ICO Satellite Services, are affected. The MSS providers have been assigned spectrum in the BAS band Sprint Nextel is clearing, and T-Mobile is concerned about interference from pre-relocation BAS channels with its adjacent-channel AWS A Block operations.

On Dec. 6, 2007, Sprint Nextel, NAB, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), and the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) jointly filed a new plan with the commission proposing an August 2009 completion date. The filing followed a Nov. 27 meeting of stakeholders in the transition aimed at finding a way to accelerate completion of the project.

In its announcement of the latest deadline waiver, the commission noted that following submission of the plan the MSS operators filed comments with the FCC, expressing their interest in continuing discussions with BAS licensees to find ways to share the spectrum while the transition is ongoing.

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