Sprint Nextel, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) submitted a joint filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlining the significant progress made to date in relocating broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) facilities from the 1990-2025 MHz spectrum band. The filing also describes the remaining challenges facing all parties and requests an additional 29 months from the original deadline of September 7, 2007 to ensure that the BAS transition is completed successfully and with minimum disruption to broadcasters’ electronic newsgathering operations.
Broadcasters and Sprint have spent the last two years working with hundreds of companies, including BAS equipment vendors, integrators and contractors to develop template agreements, pre-stock inventory, stage systems integration prior to installation, and add staff to meet anticipated demand. As a result, the pace of the BAS transition has steadily improved. Nearly all of the nation’s nearly 1,000 BAS stations have completed inventories of their facilities and equipment–a critical step in the transition process – and 59 percent of the nation’s primary BAS licensees have approved supply and pricing plans for new equipment.
Since the last formal update to the FCC in March, finalized inventories increased by 21 percent, approved quote packages increased by 97 percent, and signed relocation agreements jumped by 104 percent. The number of licensees submitting purchase orders, the number of purchase orders completely fulfilled, and the number of equipment installations have all doubled since the update.
Despite this progress, more time is needed to effectively complete the BAS transition. Every stage of the transition – from inventory, to competitive bidding, to contracting, to provisioning, to training, to programming, to installation and reconfiguration – has entailed challenges beyond the control of the broadcast industry and Sprint as they try to replace twenty-five years worth of equipment in about 2.5 years.
While asking for more time, both the broadcasters and Sprint are pushing to complete the transition and made clear they are looking for an extension rather than a delay.
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