H.R. 4990 would authorize and specify responsibilities for the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) which is a research and engineering laboratory at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). In 2022, the NTIA allocated $12 million for the ITS.
H.R. 4990 would require the ITS to work on developing emergency communication and tracking technologies to locate trapped individuals in confined spaces, such as underground mines. Using information from the NTIA, CBO estimates that this would require four additional engineers and technicians, at an annual cost of about $150,000 each; simulation software licenses, travel costs, and other miscellaneous expenses, at an annual cost of about $100,000; and one-time equipment purchases for items such as a signal generator, a vector signal analyzer receiver, and a power amplifier for about $500,000 in 2023. In total, CBO estimates that implementing this provision would cost $4 million over the 2023-2027 period; spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
The act also would require the ITS to study radio frequency emissions, determine spectrum propagation characteristics, and test technologies that enhance spectrum sharing between federal and nonfederal entities, among other activities. Because the ITS works on those activities under current law, CBO estimates that implementing those requirements would have no additional costs.