Nextel accepts 800MHz plan; 1.9GHz BAS re-banding on the way

Details are emerging about how the cellular giant plans to vacate portions of it 800MHz operation, relocate to 1.9GHz and pay to move BAS incumbents out
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Nextel will pay the expenses of moving BAS incumbents as shown above. Click here to see an enlarged diagram.

Nextel Communications accepted the terms of a significant spectrum re-banding and reconfiguring plan that clears the company from the 800MHz band to resolve interference problems with radios used by emergency first responders. Instead, it commits the company to paying for the relocation of Broadcast Auxiliary Service (BAS) incumbents currently in the 1.9GHz band.

Under an FCC plan, the company had until Feb. 7 to accept or reject the terms of the deal.

In his letter of acceptance, Nextel president and CEO Tim Donahue told out-going FCC chairman Michael Powell that his company “stands shoulder to shoulder” with the commission and the public safety community and “accepts the responsibilities, obligations, license modifications, and conditions” laid out in the FCC’s “improving Public Safety Communications in the 800MHz Band” Report and Order.

Nextel has begun the reconfiguration process and takes “the obligations and responsibilities that come along with this initiative serious and will meet all expectations fully.”

Details about the logistics of moving BAS incumbents currently in the 1990MHz to 2110MHz band emerged. They include:

  • Nextel will pay for the re-banding — broadcasters won’t incur expense for new or modified equipment;
  • The deal with the FCC gives Nextel 31.5 months (from Jan. 21, 2005) to complete the rebanding plan;
  • 1990MHz to 2110MHz users will be cleared and moved to 2031.5MHz to 2103MHz (see the diagram for a precise description of the current BAS channels affected and the reconfigured channel goal);
  • Nextel must submit to the FCC a “hard roll out schedule” by April 6 for the re-banding;
  • Seven of eight regions in the United States will be re-banded first; the eighth encompassing Montana, the Dakotas and northernmost Minnesota will be done last;
  • A Nextel team, including a broadcast engineer, project manager and spectrum resource manager, in each region will help stations do inventories and work with installation vendors;
  • The re-banding will be done by market where feasible and market cluster where there’s overlap, such as San Francisco and Sacramento;
  • Nextel will work closely with the Society of Broadcast Engineers to coordinate the re-banding locally;
  • Local broadcasters will soon receive mailed invitations from Nextel to attend a kick-off meeting to discuss the plan; some pre-launch gatherings have occurred in markets such as Houston;
  • Nextel will have a presence at the NAB convention in April to discuss the plan.

The company has launched a Web site for broadcasters to explain the process at

To read background on the plan, see “FCC adopts plan to end interference in public safety band; broadcasters stand to benefit.”

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