Sprint Nextel, broadcast groups to file plan with FCC on how to proceed with 2GHz BAS relocation

The commission has given the company as well as the SBE, NAB and MSTV until today to file a plan or proposal on how to complete the relocation project.

Sprint-Nextel, the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV), NAB and the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) today must file a plan with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to show how the 2GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) relocation will be completed.

On Sept. 4, the company and trade associations jointly petitioned the commission to extend its Sept. 7 deadline for completion of the 2GHz relocation project for 29 months. Three days later, the commission announced it was waiving its own rule that established the original deadline and gave itself 60 days to consider how to proceed. On Nov. 6, it announced a second 60 day extension submit “a consensus plan or specific proposals” for completing the transition of BAS licensees by Dec. 6.

As of Dec. 4, Sprint Nextel had completed contracts with 53 percent of 2GHz BAS licensees, according to its www.2GHzrelocation.com Web site.

In its order, the FCC noted that it continues “to find that the issues raised by the Joint Petition are especially complex.” Specifically, two 2GHz Mobile-Satellite Service licensees — Terrestar Networks and New ICO Satellite Services — have been assigned spectrum in the BAS band that Sprint Nextel is clearing. Granting the joint petition would delay the launch of service by the companies. The commission, however, acknowledged that the Sprint Nextel and the trade groups have begun discussing the situation with the MSS services to find a way to satisfy their needs as well as those of the BAS licensees and the Sprint Nextel.

“Because any action we take with respect to the Joint Petition has the potential to affect the interests of multiple parties, we conclude that it serves the public interest to promote further discussions with the anticipation that doing so will result in a consensus plan or specific proposals that allow the MSS licensees to initiate service in the band while avoiding MSS-BAS interference and continuing the BAS transition,” the order said.

For more information, visit: www.fcc.gov.