Sprint Nextel to broadcasters: Full speed ahead on 2GHz relocation

Despite asking for an extension of this September's deadline for completion of the 2GHz BAS relocation project, broadcasters must continue to push forward, says Sprint Nextel's spectrum development VP.

Sprint Nextel had a simple message for broadcasters at NAB2007: Don't ease up; don't slow down.

News that the company plans to submit a formal request to the FCC this summer for a one- to two-year extension of the September 2007 deadline for completion of the 2GHz TV Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) relocation project should not give broadcasters the false impression that they can relax.

According to Mike Degitz, Sprint Nextel VP of spectrum development, any slowdown in the completion of station inventories of existing microwave equipment or frequency relocation agreements will translate into the need for further deadline extensions beyond the one Sprint Nextel plans to ask for this summer — something the company does not want to happen.

As of NAB2007, 26 percent of eligible 2GHz BAS licensees had completed contracts with Sprint Nextel.

In March, the company submitted a progress report on the 2GHz relocation project to the FCC. The report notified the commission that Sprint Nextel anticipated needing a 12- to 24-month extension of the relocation deadline.

As it currently stands, Sprint Nextel and BAS licensees have until Sept. 7, 2007, to complete the project that will relocate BAS channels 1-7 (1990MHz to 2110MHz) to 12MHz digital channels between 2025MHz and 2110MHz.

The BAS relocation effort is a small slice of a larger spectrum swap that in part will clear up a portion of the 800MHz band for public safety communication use. According to Degitz, granting an extension of the 2GHz BAS relocation deadline will not prevent Sprint Nextel from clearing its use of the 800MHz band, so the delay will not adversely affect public safety communications.