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FCC Issues Guidelines for Modifying 2 GHz BAS Licenses

While researching the Sprint Nextel merger, I noticed that mentioned a FCC Public Notice Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and Media Bureau Announce Licensing Procedures to Facilitate the Transition of BAS, CARS, and LTTS licenses to the 2025-2110 MHz band and WTB addresses SBE Petition for Declaratory Ruling that I'd missed last week.

The Public Notice reminds broadcasters that they must have a license to operate on the old channel plan with existing analog emissions, a modified license to operate on the old channel plan with the new narrower digital emissions, and finally another modified license to operate on the new channel plan with narrow digital emissions. Given the rapid pace of the transition, timing these three different licenses would be difficult.

The FCC said that licensees will be required to modify their authorization to operate with the technical parameters they will use during and after the transition by filing an FCC Form 601. However, licensees involved in the transition will be allow to file an application to simultaneously authorize operation under all the conditions described in the previous paragraph. Licensees should specify in their application all channels and emissions with which they intend to operate during the transition period, for which they are not currently authorized, according to the FCC.

The FCC recommends that stations modify their existing channels to add additional emissions rather than adding additional frequencies in the old channel plan with the new emission. They also recommend that when licensees are adding frequencies under the new channel plan, the frequencies be added as separate paths on the license to distinguish operations under the old channel plan from operations under the new channel plan. When filing for the new frequencies, you can indicate either upper and lower band edges or the center frequency. If you intend to use the Digital Return Link (DRL) channels, those should be added as well.

Licensees converting to the new band plan should indicate this on their application. Authorization issued will indicate that authority to operate under the old channel plan will cease after the transition to the new channel plan is complete. Don't forget to file a certification of completion of construction (FCC Form 601 Schedule K) within 18 months of the grant date when the transition is complete.

For more information, refer to FCC Public Notice DA 05-2223.