S. 1822 would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect detailed data twice a year on the availability of broadband internet access services. That data would be reported by providers of those broadband services. Under the bill, the FCC would establish and maintain a comprehensive database and create detailed and publicly available broadband coverage maps. The bill also would require the FCC to develop processes for any person or entity to submit broadband availability data to verify or challenge the FCC’s database or maps.
Using information from the FCC about the scope and complexity of the required work, CBO estimates that the FCC would spend $28 million over the 2020-2021 period to issue rules, establish reporting requirements, and hire contractors to establish a comprehensive broadband database and maps. CBO estimates that maintaining and updating the database and maps would cost about $9 million a year starting in 2021.
In total, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have a gross cost of $65 million over the 2020-2024 period. However, the FCC is authorized to collect fees sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory activities each year; therefore, CBO estimates that the net effect on discretionary spending for those activities would be insignificant, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority.
S. 1822 contains private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) but CBO cannot determine whether the cost of those mandates would exceed the threshold established in UMRA ($164 million in 2019, adjusted annually for inflation).
S. 1822 would direct the FCC to develop rules requiring broadband service providers (terrestrial fixed, satellite, mobile, and fixed wireless) to disclose data and information to the agency. Those disclosure requirements would vary based on the type of broadband provider and would include, among other things:
Areas where providers have developed (or could potentially develop) infrastructure for a broadband network,
Download and upload speeds for various thresholds as established by the FCC, and a
List of addresses or locations for the service area of the provider.
Because the rules defining content and threshold requirements (such as the frequency of data disclosures or the format for data submissions) are not complete, CBO cannot determine the cost for broadband providers to comply with the bill’s requirements.
If the FCC increases annual fee collections to offset the costs to implement provisions in the bill, S. 1822 would increase the cost of an existing private-sector mandate on entities required to pay those fees. Using information from the FCC, CBO estimates that the incremental cost of the mandate would be small, about $13 million annually, and would fall well below the annual threshold established in the UMRA.
The bill contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in UMRA.