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Los Angeles Completes BAS Transition

Broadcasters in the Los Angeles market completed their move to new ENG spectrum last weekend, marking a major milestone in the BAS transition.

The FCC has licensed Sprint Nextel to use a portion of the 2 GHz spectrum that broadcasters currently use to send and receive news from the field. Sprint and two satellite companies that also will receive BAS spectrum are financing broadcasters’ move out of the 1990-2025 MHz spectrum. The transition—which has taken place over the past several years—is scheduled to end in early 2010.

The Los Angeles market cluster, which contains the most newsgathering equipment in the country—includes the Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara television markets. The transition took place on June 6, and involved almost 200 mobile newsgathering trucks, 14 helicopters and more than 175 reception sites across the area. Overall, the BAS transition is now complete in 108 markets, covering a population of approximately 160 million.

“Given the sheer size and complexity of the Los Angeles-are transition, this is a major accomplishment in the project and continues the transition progress realized during the first half of 2009,” said Michael Degitz, vice president of spectrum management for Sprint. “Working together, market by market, station by station, Sprint and the broadcast community continue to make major progress toward completing the nationwide clearing of fixed and mobile BAS systems below 2025 MHz.

Fifty-one percent of all TV markets are now transitioned, according to Sprint; 88 percent of the total BAS equipment has been delivered to stations and 75 percent of all BAS operators in the U.S. have received all of the elements of BAS systems that they need to relocate. In addition, 61 percent of broadcasters have already installed the new equipment that they have ordered.