Broadcasters' spectrum auction reveals manpower shortage in crucial area

TV tower crewAs the FCC prepares to begin its incentive auction of 600 MHz of TV broadcasters' spectrum, a new issue is rearing its head. "Repacking" channels after the auction into new areas of the remaining broadcaster spectrum will require installation of new antennas and RF equipment for many stations that stay on the air, rather than opting to stream their signals online or merge with other stations.

The problem: only a few qualified tower crews exist to perform needed tasks like antenna installation, tower reinforcement or new tower construction for the estimated 800 to 1,200 installs and upgrades that will be needed. The number of crews dwindled dramatically after the completion of the digital signal transition in 2009, and only about 15 crews are currently available to do the work.

FierceInstaller takes a closer look at this emerging issue and the challenges that lie ahead. Read the special report here.