Reports & Testimonies

GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

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Affordable Broadband: FCC Could Improve Performance Goals and Measures, Consumer Outreach, and Fraud Risk Management

GAO-23-105399
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Access to broadband—high-speed internet—has become critical for everyday life. But its cost may keep some people from having access to it. To make it more affordable for low-income Americans, the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program offers monthly discounts on broadband service to eligible households. As of Sept. 2022, over 14 million households had enrolled—about a third of the estimated eligible households. FCC could strengthen the program's...

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Broadband Funding: Stronger Management of Performance and Fraud Risk Needed for Tribal and Public-Private Partnership Grants

GAO-23-105426
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Tribal, rural, and economically disadvantaged areas are more likely to not have access to broadband service—which is vital for things like remote learning, telework, and telehealth. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) manages two grant programs that work to expand broadband access. We found that for one of these programs the agency's goals include extending reliable, affordable broadband to 200,000 households. However, NTIA doesn't...

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Local Journalism: Innovative Business Approaches and Targeted Policies May Help Local News Media Adapt to Digital Transformation

GAO-22-105405
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The internet has fundamentally changed how local news media operate—particularly by reducing the circulation and revenue of many local newspapers. We convened a 2-day workshop and interviewed journalists, academics, and other experts about the future of local media. The participants discussed strategies news outlets use to adapt to the digital environment and policy proposals to boost the viability of local journalism. For example, direct government...

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Telecommunications Workforce: Additional Workers Will Be Needed to Deploy Broadband, but Concerns Exist About Availability

GAO-23-105626
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Recent legislation included big increases in federal funding for the deployment of broadband, which is increasingly critical to daily life, but unavailable in some areas. Our analysis found that thousands more skilled workers will be needed to deploy broadband and 5G funded by recent federal programs. If this work is spread over 10 years, at its peak, the funding would support about 23,000 additional workers...

GPS Disruptions: DOT Could Improve Efforts to Identify Interference Incidents and Strengthen Resilience

GAO-23-105335
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GPS improves transportation safety, but is vulnerable to interference from radio signal jamming or other sources. The Department of Transportation is responsible for identifying GPS interference incidents and improving the transportation sector's ability to withstand and recover from them. We found that DOT's process for identifying incidents doesn't produce accurate or complete information and isn't documented. Also, DOT has efforts underway to improve the sector's...

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National Security Space: Overview of Contracts for Commercial Satellite Imagery

GAO-23-106042
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Commercial satellite imagery and data can play a key role in national security. For example, the war in Ukraine has drawn attention to how governments are using commercial satellites to track troop movement and the impact of attacks. The commercial space industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, and therefore may be able to address more of the federal government's imagery needs...

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Broadband: USDA Should Set Performance Goals and Improve Fraud Risk Management for Funding Program

GAO-23-105265
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Since 2019, the Department of Agriculture's ReConnect program has awarded millions of dollars in grants and loans to broadband providers for expanding service in rural areas. But USDA hasn't set specific goals for what it wants this program to achieve or for how it will measure how well the program is working. In addition, protecting the program from fraud is critical to ensure that federal...

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Satellite Licensing: FCC Should Reexamine Its Environmental Review Process for Large Constellations of Satellites

GAO-23-105005
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By 2030, tens of thousands of commercial satellites are expected to join the thousands of satellites already in orbit. Scientists and others have raised concerns about the potential environmental and other effects of large quantities of satellites. Companies submit satellite launch proposals to the Federal Communications Commission for licensing. FCC reviews potential environmental effects—unless the proposal is in a category that FCC has excluded from...

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Diversidad en la fuerza laboral: Los trabajadores hispanos están infrarrepresentados en los medios de comunicación y se necesitan más datos para aplicar la normativa federal

GAO-22-105886
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To see the version of this page in English, see GAO-22-104669. También, la transcripción del episodio de podcast relacionado incluye versiones en inglés y español. A pesar de que muchas empresas de medios de comunicación ahora reconocen la importancia de la diversidad en pantalla e impresa, los trabajadores hispanos están infrarrepresentados en la fuerza laboral de los medios de comunicación de 2010 a 2019. La...

Workforce Diversity: Hispanic Workers Are Underrepresented in the Media, and More Data Are Needed for Federal Enforcement Efforts

GAO-22-104669
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Para la versión de esta página en español, ver a GAO-22-105886. También, la transcripción del episodio de podcast relacionado incluye versiones en inglés y español. While many media companies now recognize the importance of diversity on screen and in print, Hispanic workers were underrepresented in the media workforce from 2010-19. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Communications Commission share responsibility for protecting media...

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Broadband: Needs of Rural Small Businesses and Federal Programs to Support Them

GAO-22-106116
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According to the Federal Communications Commission, 96% of the U.S. population has access to broadband at or above the FCC's benchmark for minimum speed. But overall access may be overstated and access rates are lower in rural areas. In 2021, we reviewed whether broadband is fast enough for small business owners, federal efforts to improve rural broadband access, and more. We briefed Congress with updates...

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Spectrum Management: Improved Planning and Interagency Collaboration Could Strengthen Spectrum Reallocation Efforts

GAO-22-106170
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The FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regulate use of radio-frequency spectrum in the U.S. to help ensure there's enough for emerging 5G networks, satellites, and everything else. When there could be interference, FCC and NTIA coordinate with other agencies. We testified about our reviews of the spectrum reallocation process and how agencies collaborate on potential spectrum interference issues. We found: NTIA...

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Tribal Broadband: National Strategy and Coordination Framework Needed to Increase Access

GAO-22-104421
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Broadband is critical to modern life. Despite federal efforts, broadband access on tribal lands has lagged behind the rest of the country. In 2020, 18% of people living on tribal lands couldn't access broadband service, compared to 4% of people in non-tribal areas. Numerous federal programs are working to increase broadband access on tribal lands. However, tribes have struggled to identify which federal program meets...

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Broadband: National Strategy Needed to Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Digital Divide

GAO-22-104611
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Broadband internet is increasingly critical for work, school, shopping, and other parts of daily life. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the "digital divide" and the disadvantages for people who don't have access. In its efforts to expand broadband access, the federal government has subsidized investment in rural areas that haven't attracted private investment. We identified over 100 federal programs—administered by 15 agencies—that could be used to...

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Public-Safety Broadband Network: Congressional Action Required to Ensure Network Continuity

GAO-22-104915
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Legislation set up an independent authority (FirstNet) to create a nationwide broadband network for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters. FirstNet contracted with AT&T to deploy the network, which will be fully operational in 2023. But this law terminates FirstNet's authority in 2027, and doesn't identify another federal agency to oversee network operations or updates. Without legislative action, the public-safety network will be...

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Spectrum Management: Information Technologies for Managing Federal Use

GAO-22-105221
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Radio frequency spectrum is a scarce resource vital to activities such as national defense and air traffic control. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration manages its allocation to federal agencies. But according to NTIA, out-of-date information technology hinders its efforts. Federal officials said modernization of spectrum-related federal IT could provide benefits such as greater sharing of the limited spectrum and improved efficiency. For example, the...

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Spectrum Management: NTIA Should Improve Spectrum Reallocation Planning and Assess Its Workforce

GAO-22-104537
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The federal government uses the radio-frequency spectrum for essential functions such as national defense and air traffic control. However, broadband and other services continue to drive up private sector demand for spectrum. The government is working to transfer some federally-used spectrum to the private sector to help build mobile networks, including 5G. The National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) facilitates these transfers, which can be...

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Telecomunicaciones: La FCC Asistió en la Restauración de Redes después del Huracán María, pero es Necesario Clarificar Su Función en las Labores de Respuesta a los Desastres y Mejorar la Comunicación

GAO-22-105311
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To see the version of this page in English, see GAO-21-297. Agencias federales enfrentaron desafíos sin precedentes al responder al huracán Maria de 2017, cuyo causó daños extensivos en Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. El papel de la Comisión Federal de Comunicaciones (FCC, por sus siglas en inglés) incluyó la recopilación de información sobre interrupciones de la red y la creación de...

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U.S. Agency for Global Media: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Oversight of Broadcasting Networks

GAO-22-104017
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Through the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the U.S. funds international broadcasting networks—such as the Voice of America and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks—to bring unbiased news to countries where press freedom is restricted. These networks rely on a "firewall" set up in legislation to safeguard their editorial independence and insulate them from outside political pressure. We found that former agency leaders may have been...

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COVID-19: Selected Agencies Overcame Technology Challenges to Support Telework but Need to Fully Assess Security Controls

GAO-21-583
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Telework is essential to the continuity of federal operations in emergencies—but it also brings added cybersecurity risks. We examined federal agencies' preparedness to support expanded telework during the COVID-19 pandemic. We looked at 12 agencies and found that they all had the technology to support remote access for telework. But not all agencies had fully addressed relevant guidance for securing their remote access systems. For...