Commission filing reveals status of BAS relocation project

A joint filing with the FCC last week by Sprint Nextel and three broadcast associations lays out where the relocation project stands.

An important step on the way to HD electronic newsgathering (ENG) is replacing analog microwave radios and RF systems with digital systems.

That replacement is ongoing as Sprint Nextel reimburses the hardware, installation and training expenses of Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) licensees as part of the 2GHz relocation project.

HD ENG won’t happen until HD encoders are added to the mix — something that’s beyond the scope of the relocation project. Still, tracking the progress of the BAS relocation effort is pertinent to the ultimate realization of HD ENG.

Sprint Nextel and broadcasters failed to hit the Sept. 7, 2007, FCC-mandated deadline for completion of the project, prompting the company, NAB, MSTV and SBE to file a joint request for a 29-month extension with the FCC last week. The filing sheds light on where the project stood in August and compares that to where the effort stood in March when the company initially raised a likelihood that extension of the deadline would be necessary.

The filing included a table outlining where the project stands in regards to key benchmarks excluding Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and secondary BAS facilities:

PhaseMarch 2007Aug. 2007 Percentage Increase Since March 2007 Markets kicked off by Sprint Nextel 100% 100% Complete BAS stations engaged in transition 100% 100% Complete Inventories submitted by broadcasters 99% 100% Complete Inventories verified and agreed by Sprint Nextel 80% 97% +21% Quote packages submitted by broadcasters 37% 63% +70% Quote packages approved by Sprint Nextel 30% 59% +97% Frequency relocation agreements signed 22% 45% +105% Purchase orders submitted by broadcasters 17% 39% +129% Purchase orders fulfilled by manufacturers 5% 13% +160% Equipment installed by installers 2% 5% +150%