The FCC recently extended the deadline for the BAS transition a full year, to March 5, 2009, after a series of brief extensions while it examined the issue.
“We appreciate the FCC extending the deadline to March 5, 2009 in recognition of the numerous complexities involved in the BAS relocation, the expected entry of other services into the band, and Sprint Nextel’s diligent efforts to date,” Sprint, NAB and the Association for Maximum Service Television said in a joint statement. “We are carefully reviewing all aspects of the FCC’s decision and will continue to work aggressively with the broadcasters, MSS licensees and all stakeholders to complete this project.”
It’s not clear the groups won’t ask for another extension of the deadline to complete the transition, changing out BAS gear across the country with digital equipment on different frequencies.
Last fall, Sprint asked for a deadline of January 2010. In December 2007, Sprint told the FCC it could pull it off by August 2009, “barring unforeseen circumstances.”
The groups promised progress.
“More than 70 percent of all BAS licensees have entered into relocation agreements with Sprint Nextel and more than 63 percent have ordered replacement equipment,” the groups said. “Relocation has been completed in a number of markets, including Las Vegas, Nev., and Harrisburg, Pa., and we expect several more to be completed in the coming weeks.”
The groups continued: “The consensus plan recognizes that the manufacture, integration, programming, and installation of equipment will require until August 2009 to complete. Yesterday’s FCC Order indicates that the agency may award the joint parties additional time to complete the BAS relocation so long as all parties continue to work in good faith to move BAS above 2025 MHz as expeditiously as possible.”
— TV Technology