NTIA Releases Estimates of 1710-1755 MHz Band Relocation Costs

December 28, 2005. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released spreadsheets [PDF] that contain its estimates of the costs of relocating incumbent federal users out of the 1710-1755 MHz spectrum band.

The NTIA estimates that the total cost will be $935,940,312. It stated in a release [PDF] that the cost estimates for the 1710-1755 MHz band "are far less than previous wireless industry estimates".

This band, and the 2110-2155 MHz band, have been reallocated for use by wireless services that have variously been described as third generation (3G), advanced, and broadband.

The largest amount of the estimated relocation costs are for federal law enforcement agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) $139,650,00, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) $75,000,000, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) $48,171,069, and Customs and Border Protection $75,699,990.

The total estimated relocation costs for the Department of Defense (DOD) are $288,889,848.

Late in 2004 the Congress enacted HR 5419, a large composite bill. Title II of this bill is the "Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act", or CSEA. It amended the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Organization Act by creating a Spectrum Relocation Fund, funded by auction proceeds, to compensate federal agencies for the cost of relocating.

It also required the NTIA to prepare these estimates. See, Section 207.

See also, stories titled "House Approves Bill that Includes the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,025, November 24, 2004; "Powell Urges Senate to Approve Telecom Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,032, December 7, 2004; and, "Congress Approves Telecom Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 1,035, December 10, 2004.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) wrote in a 2003 report [7 pages in PDF] that "CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1320 would increase net direct spending by $1.5 billion over the 2006-2008 period and by $2.6 billion over the next 10 years." HR 1320 was an earlier version of the CSEA.

Michael GallagherMichael Gallagher (at left), the outgoing head of the NTIA, stated that "Today's spectrum announcement is great news for American consumers and the U.S. economy ... President Bush's committed focus on wireless as a catalyst for technology growth is paying dividends. His leadership resulted in the historic agreement of the Department of Defense and other agencies to open up the frequencies, as well as the passage of key legislation a year ago that will make the 2006 auctions a reality". He added that "With 90 megahertz of additional spectrum, today's cellular carriers will be tomorrow's next-generation broadband providers".

Gallagher has not yet announced where he will go when he departs from the NTIA. There remains a Republican vacancy on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which will soon auction this spectrum to service providers.

In 2003 the FCC adopted services rules for the 1710-1755 and 2110-2155 MHz bands. The FCC's Report and Order (R&O) is FCC 03-251 in WT Docket No. 02-353. See also, stories titled "FCC Adopts 3G Order and NRPM" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 546, November 11, 2002; "FCC Announces Services Rules for 3G Spectrum" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 761, October 20, 2003; and "FCC Releases Order Regarding Service Rules for 3G Spectrum" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 788, November 28, 2003.

See also, the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's (WTB) web page for this upcoming auction.

And see, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) release praising the NTIA report.