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Sprint Nextel transitions BAS in Harrisburg, PA

Sprint Nextel announced last week that the transition of Broadcast Auxiliary Services (BAS) facilities from the 1990MHz to 2025MHz spectrum band has been successfully completed in the Harrisburg, PA, market.

The conversion in Harrisburg is the seventh to switch from analog to digital microwave under Sprint Nextel’s long-delayed digital upgrade program. Citing the difficulty involving completing the transition, the wireless carrier has requested the FCC for a delay in finishing the work until the summer of 2009.

Over the past two years, Sprint and the Harrisburg broadcasters have worked with equipment vendors, integrators and contractors to design, build and install new BAS equipment such as transmitters and receivers, controllers and antennas that broadcasters use to send and receive news from the field. Once the equipment was in place and operating properly, Sprint coordinated with local stations to identify a suitable date to switch operations to their new spectrum.

The FCC has licensed Sprint Nextel to use a portion of the 2GHz spectrum where BAS licensees are currently operating. In return, Sprint is responsible for paying for new equipment and reimbursing BAS licensees for the costs associated with moving to another part of the spectrum band.

“Replacing and retuning decades-old equipment brings challenges, but the success in Harrisburg demonstrates that with strong collaboration progress is being made,” said Michael Degitz, vice president of spectrum at Sprint.