Preliminary Findings on Federal Relocation Costs and Auction Revenues

April 24, 2013

What GAO Found

Actual costs to relocate federal users from the 1710-1755 megahertz (MHz) band have exceeded the original $1 billion estimate by about $474 million as of March 2013, although auction revenues appear to exceed relocation costs by over $5 billion. Actual relocation costs exceed estimated costs for various reasons, including unforeseen challenges and some agencies not following the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) guidance for preparing the cost estimate. In contrast, the Department of Defense (DOD) expects to complete relocation for about $275 million or approximately $80 million less than its $355 million estimate. According to DOD officials, the relocation of systems from this band has been less expensive than originally estimated because many systems were simply re-tuned to operate in the adjacent 1755-1850 MHz band. The auction of the 1710-1755 MHz band raised almost $6.9 billion in gross winning bids. NTIA expects agencies to complete the relocation effort between 2013 and 2017; therefore, final net auction revenue (auction revenue less relocation costs) may change.

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