Sprint Nextel and three leading broadcast associations formally asked the FCC Sept. 5 for an additional 29 months to complete the 2GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) relocation project.
The project, which has an FCC-mandated completion deadline of Sept. 7, is part of a larger reshuffling of swaths of spectrum to make way for emergency first responder, and will usher in a new era of digital electronic newsgathering (ENG) in 12MHz-wide channels between 2025MHz and 2110MHz.
Joining Sprint Nextel in making the formal request to the commission were the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE).
According to Sprint Nextel, nearly all of the 1000 BAS stations have completed the inventories of their microwave equipment, which is necessary before the company and individual broadcasters can negotiate frequency relocation agreements. Additionally, 59 percent of primary BAS licensees have approved supply and pricing plans for new equipment.
The extension is required because at every point in the relocation project, Sprint Nextel and broadcasters have faced challenges beyond their control, according to the company. Sprint Nextel reminded the commission in the extension request that it and BAS licensees were attempting to replace microwave equipment collected throughout 25 years in a 2.5-year timeframe.
In March, the company submitted an update to the commission in which it said it would need more time to complete the project. The Sept. 5 filing formally makes the request to the commission for an extension. It also sheds light on the status of the BAS relocation effort. Since the last filing:
PhaseMarch 2007Aug. 2007 Percentage Increase Since March 2007 Markets kicked off by Sprint Nextel 100% 100% Complete BAS stations engaged in transition 100% 100% Complete Inventories submitted by broadcasters 99% 100% Complete Inventories verified and agreed by Sprint Nextel 80% 97% +21% Quote packages submitted by broadcasters 37% 63% +70% Quote packages approved by Sprint Nextel 30% 59% +97% Frequency relocation agreements signed 22% 45% +105% Purchase orders submitted by broadcasters 17% 39% +129% Purchase orders fulfilled by manufacturers 5% 13% +160% Equipment installed by installers 2% 5% +150%
For more information, visit www.2ghzrelocation.com.