FCC AWS Auction Ends With Possible Impact on BAS Operations

The ending of the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) auction has been in the news recently. By now you know that in terms of population served, T-Mobile, SpectrumCo LLC (a group including Sprint, Time Warner and Comcast), Cingular and Cellco Partnership (d/b/a Verizon Wireless) were the winners.

AWS spectrum includes the lower two channels of the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary services (BAS) spectrum. Sprint Nextel is currently relocating broadcasters from these channels. The auction that just concluded, AWS-1, did not include any of this spectrum. The AWS-2 auction, however, will include 1995-2000 MHz and 2020-2025 MHz spectrum.

The spectrum offered in AWS-1 covered spectrum starting just above the 2 GHz BAS band at 2110 MHz to 2155 MHz, as well as spectrum located between 1710 MHz and 1755 MHz. Depending on the type of service offered in Block A, adjacent to the BAS band, it is possible there could be some interference to BAS operations. However, the old 2 GHz BAS band was adjacent to broadband PCS operations and in most cases filters helped in resolving interference. As part of the Sprint Nextel 2 GHz relocation plan, broadcasters can receive new filters for their receive sites. While broadcasters using 2 GHz channel A-1 are probably aware they may need filters to protect their ENG receive sites from AWS transmitters, broadcasters using 2 GHz channel A-7 may not be aware that the AWS frequencies won in auction AWS-1 may cause them interference problems as well.

The Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-1) Auction 66 Web site has complete data on the results of the auction, including winning bidders in each market area, maps, the AWS band plan and more.