H.R. 1338 would establish deadlines for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to process applications both for earth and space stations in a satellite system to operate in specific spectrum bands and for grants of access to U.S. markets. The bill also would set performance objectives for applicants with respect to space safety and orbital debris. Finally, H.R. 1338 would require licensees to protect other entities authorized to use the same frequencies from harmful interference.
Using information from the FCC, CBO expects that it would need about 10 employees over the first 18 months after enactment, at an average annual cost of $195,000, to issue rules. CBO also expects that the rulemaking required under the bill would result in an expedited application review timeline, which CBO expects would require roughly 20 additional attorneys and engineers annually beginning midway through 2025. Those employees would be needed to help clear the backlog of current applications and process new applications under the accelerated schedule.
On that basis, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $19 million over the 2023-2028 period. However, because the FCC is authorized to collect fees each year sufficient to offset the appropriated costs of its regulatory activities, CBO estimates that the net cost to the FCC would be negligible, assuming appropriation actions consistent with that authority.