Four more markets complete BAS transition

Broadcast Auxiliary Service licensees in four additional metropolitan areas have completed their 2GHz BAS relocation, Sprint Nextel said last week.

Stations in Houston, Phoenix, Orlando and Norfolk, VA, have transitioned their BAS facilities from 1990MHz to 2025MHz, bringing the number of stations nationwide having done so to 67 and the number of completed markets to 19, the company said.

The FCC has licensed Sprint to use a portion of the 2GHz spectrum broadcasters currently used for electronic newsgathering (ENG). Sprint and two satellite companies that will receive BAS spectrum are responsible for paying for new equipment and reimbursing broadcasters for the costs of moving to their new spectrum.

Originally, the BAS relocation project was to be completed in September 2007. However, decades of legacy BAS equipment, questions over the tax status of the transaction as well as other issues have complicated the process. Since September, Sprint Nextel and BAS licensees have continued the project under a series of one-month FCC waivers to the original deadline. In March, the commission granted a one-year extension to complete the transition with certain provisos.

According to Sprint Nextel, signs of progress on the 2GHz transition abound, including:

  • BAS licensees have finalized and received approval of “quote packages” for new equipment for nearly 90 percent of primary facilities to be relocated.
  • More than 77 percent of the necessary frequency relocation agreements for primary BAS facilities are signed.
  • BAS licensees have submitted more than 71 percent of the purchase orders to manufacturers for such facilities.
  • Twenty-three percent of all BAS licensee equipment orders have been fulfilled, and 14 percent of BAS licensees have completely installed their equipment.

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