NAB Says Only 13 Tower Companies For Auction Deadline


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Inside Towers reported that the National Association of Broadcasters wants the FCC to wait until after the March 29 spectrum auction to decide on a transition deadline. In its plea sent to the commission on Monday, the broadcasters said the task of transferring an untold number of television stations to a new spot on the airwaves also could require moving towers and antennas to another geographical spot. And that’s a monumental task, said the NAB. In fact, there are only a baker’s dozen of “qualified tower and antenna installation firms that have the equipment and experience to work on tall (over 800 feet) broadcast towers supporting large and heavy television transmission antennas,” according to a Digital Tech Consulting report entitled, “Broadcast Spectrum Repacking Timeline, Resource and Cost Analysis.”
The report said, “This number is greatly reduced from when tower work was done during the analog-to-digital transition. As a result of the FCC-imposed TV freeze since 2012, many of the skilled workers have either retired or moved on to the cellular/wireless antenna business, where the jobs are easier, more plentiful and have far less risk.”

DTC findings indicate that all but a few of the firms interviewed have the equipment and skilled manpower to operate a single crew. “For planning purposes, it should be assumed that there will be a total of 16 qualified crews available during the repack transition.” While several firms indicated they could provide installation proposals and costs at the rate of about 20 per month if no other emergency jobs come along, DTC said. “With 13 qualified firms, the estimated proposal capacity from this resource group is no more than 260 per month. It should also be recognized that this group’s quoting activity cannot begin until the RF and tower structural consultants are far enough along in their work to provide data and drawings to the installers. For planning purposes, there will be about a one-month offset in the start of this activity.”

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