S. 163 would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish an interagency working group to develop recommendations that address the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry and report its findings to the Congress. The bill also would direct the Department of Labor (DOL) to issue guidance on how state workforce development boards can support the telecommunications industry. Finally, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to report to the Congress on the number of telecommunications workers needed to build and maintain broadband infrastructure in rural areas.
In total, CBO estimates that implementing S. 163 would cost less than $500,000 over the 2021-2026 period; any spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
Using information from the FCC, CBO expects that one employee would be needed for one year, at a cost of about $200,000, to support the working group. However, because the FCC is authorized to collect fees each year sufficient to offset the costs of its regulatory activities, CBO estimates that the net cost to the FCC would be negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority.
Based on information provided by the agencies for similar proposals, CBO estimates the costs for DOL to issue the required guidance and for GAO to complete the required report would be insignificant.