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INTRODUCTION In August 1976, the National Research Council was requested by the Office of Telecommunications (oT3 of the Department of Commerce to "examine the utility and feasibility of specific activities in the Office of Telecommunications technical program plans." The Research Council's Assembly of Engineering asked its Committee on Telecommuni- cations to organize a study panel on the Office of Telecommunications to carry out this task. By agreement between the OT and the panel, this review has concentrated on: o use of the electromagnetic spectrum o performance of telecommunications systems o satellite communications systems Moreover, the OT had asked the panel to conduct its study in the following three phases: 1) review OT's long range plans in telecommunications technology and applications, 2) examine the program and performance at OT's laboratory facil- ity at Boulder, Colorado, and 3) synthesize the findings and produce conclusions and recommen- dations for the panel's report. To accomplish this, the panel held three meetings--one on each phase of the study. The first meeting was at OT headquarters in Washington, D. C., on November 4-5, 1976; the second at OT's Institute of Telecommunications Sciences (OT/ITS), Boulder, Colorado, on April 11-13, 1977; and the third at OT headquarters, Washington, D. C., on October 18-19, 1977. OT representatives were present at a portion of each meeting to interact with the panel. Following each meeting, the panel prepared a written report of its findings and recommendations. The purpose of the panel's first meeting was to review signifi- cant aspects of OT's five-year plans for research, technological development, and applications. OT had specifically requested the panel to focus its attention on four significant technologies that the OT report "Lowering Barriers to Telecommunications Growth"~holds in need of national attention by industry, universities, and government. The technologies are direct satellite communications, mobile radio, broadband communications networks, and fiber optic transmission. At the second meeting in Boulder, Colorado, the OT provided the panel with an overview of the changes in activities and plans, including policy support analysis for the Secretary of Commerce and the Congress, that had been developed since the panel's initial 1