What Are the Hold Ups, You Ask?

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What would cause TV stations to not make the transition in 39 months? Lots, apparently, and much of it due to the tower business, based on a lengthy report produced and copyright by Digital Tech Consulting 35 called, “Broadcast Spectrum Repacking Timeline, Resource and Cost Analysis.” Among a series of possible problems that could and are likely to pop up in the transition, notes the reports is the observation that “before any tower or antenna construction can take place, zoning and building permit hurdles must be cleared. Since 2007, tower standards have been upgraded, and these new standards, known as EIA 222G, have been adopted by most local governmental bodies. Any proposed modifications to the tower and antennas will require that the process include either certification or an upgrade to the EIA 222G standard.”

The report finds that “the American Tower organization owns thousands of towers, and its personnel have vast experience with local zoning and permitting for tower work. The average station, according to ATC, can expect about three months for obtaining the necessary zoning or building permits for this type of construction.” That all seems workable until this pops up: “An estimate provided by a knowledgeable tower engineering professional indicates that about 75 percent of the station-owned towers currently do not meet the most recent tower standards. This means that these towers will require additional engineering and modifications to bring them up to compliance once the project is completed. None of this work is factored into the resource capacity for tower or antenna installation associated with the repack.”

There there are the other factors to consider: time and expense planning for some stations will come into play when towers and antennas are located on land regulated by either the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. There are a number of such sites around the country, with Mount Wilson in the Los Angeles market and Sandia Crest in Albuquerque, NM, being more widely known.” The report points out that “These sites require additional communication plans and authorizations from a review board or forest ranger before any site changes can be made. Delays of many months, and even several years, have been cited by experienced professionals who have worked on projects located on such sites.”

 

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