July 21, 2010
Sprint has notified the Federal Communications Commission that it has completed a five-year-long project to transition 35 MHz of broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) spectrum nationwide, the carrier said. The estimated $750 million project creates faster and cheaper access to consumer broadband services through a new, more efficient spectrum broadband plan, Sprint said.
Anchorage, Alaska, was the last of the 213 markets designated to be transitioned, the carrier said. The BAS spectrum transition project began after the FCC voted in 2004 to develop a plan to end ongoing interference between public safety and commercial operations in the 800-MHz band. As part of the FCC's 800-MHz Reconfiguration Plan, Sprint restructured BAS incumbents to create a better spectrum broadband plan, the carrier said. "Sprint's completion of the BAS spectrum transition marks an important step toward President Obama's goal of freeing 500 MHz of additional wireless broadband spectrum," said Michael B. Degitz, VP of spectrum management for Sprint, in a statement. "This newly cleared spectrum has the potential to be used to create jobs, to enhance the nation's and the telecommunications industry's economic competiveness, and to increase productivity." Sprint said old microwave and electronic newsgathering equipment was replaced by some 1,000 workers, including engineers, technicians, tower climbers, and laborers, who installed more than 100,000 pieces of new, high-performing equipment that uses fewer spectra and is capable of operating more efficiently. The work benefitted approximately 1,000 television broadcast stations in the United States and its territories and possessions, and the carrier said there were no broadcasting service disruption issues during the five-year project. "The state-of-the-art, electronic newsgathering equipment that was deployed for the BAS transition is enabling broadcasters to provide the American public with the valuable live news, information, and public service programming" from the country's free television stations, said Gordon H. Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and former U.S. senator from Oregon, in a statement. The project was "a textbook example of cross-industry cooperation," noted David Donovan, president of the Association for Maximum Service Television, in a statement.
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