Office of Engineering and Technology grants extension of BAS relocation deadline

The Federal Communications Commission Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) has granted Sprint Nextel a six-month deadline extension to complete the transition of Broadcast Auxiliary Service licensees to new digital channels above 2025MHz.

The OET order, adopted Feb. 4 and released the next day, covers the remaining 28 BAS markets not yet finished with their transition from a total of 213 BAS markets nationwide. The company now has until Aug. 9 to complete the relocation efforts. Prior to the latest extension, Sprint Nextel was working to complete the relocation project by Feb. 8.

The 28 markets covered by the extension include: Anchorage, AK; St. Louis; Minot-Bismarck-Dickinson, ND; Missoula, MT; Columbus and Dayton, OH; Buffalo, NY; Lexington, KY; the tri-cities of Tennessee and Virginia; Des Moines-Ames, Sioux City, and Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque, IA; Honolulu, HI; Butte-Bozeman, MT; Wausau-Rhinelander, WI; Davenport, IA-Rock island-Moline, IL; Spokane and Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA; Rochester MN-Mason City, IA-Austin MN; Portland, Eugene, Medford-Klamath Falls, and Bend, OR; Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, and Lafayette, IN; and Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM.

The OET waived the February deadline and extended the deadline for the 28 markets in response to filings from Sprint Nextel, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), NAB and the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) in December 2009 and February 2010.

In granting the extension, the OET said Sprint Nextel had demonstrated various circumstances that it could not have reasonably avoided prevented the company from wrapping up project in the 28 markets. It also acknowledged the company has made “substantial progress by completing the relocation of incumbents in more than 86 percent of the nation’s BAS markets.”