Federal Relocation Costs and Auction Revenues

May 22, 2013

What GAO Found

Some federal agencies underestimated the costs to relocate communication systems from the 1710-1755 megahertz (MHz) band, although auction revenues appear to exceed relocation costs by over $5 billion. As of March 2013, actual relocation costs have exceeded estimated costs by about $474 million, or 47 percent. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) expects agencies to complete the relocation effort between 2013 and 2017, with a final relocation cost of about $1.5 billion. Actual relocation costs have exceeded estimated costs for various reasons, including unforeseen challenges and some agencies not following NTIA's guidance for developing cost estimates. However, the Department of Defense (DOD) expects to complete its relocation for about $71 million less than its estimate of about $355 million. NTIA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are taking steps to ensure that agencies improve their cost estimates by, for example, preparing a cost estimation template and guidelines for reporting reimbursable costs. The auction of spectrum licenses in the 1710-1755 MHz band raised almost $6.9 billion. 

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