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2 review. The OT also furnished a detailed account of activities by the OT's Institute of Telecommunications Sciences (ITS) at Boulder, carried out on the following matters: electromagnetic wave transmission; effi- cient use of the electromagnetic spectrum; spectrum management; data communications; satellite communications; and fiber optics communica- tions. At the third panel meeting in Washington, D. C., the panel listen- ed to an overview of the implications of the President's Reorganization Plan No. 1, which calls for the merger of many functions of the Office of Telecommunications, Department of Commerce, under a new position of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. This final report serves to consolidate and summarize the panel's overall views, which are based on briefings by and discussions with OT representatives, the panel's visits to the OT facilities, and back- ground information and literature on the OT's activities and plans. In developing its recommendations, the panel relied heavily on its ex- perience and knowledge of the state-of-the-art of telecommunications science and technology and related research now underway outside of the OT/ITS. The OT's stated goals are to (1) support efficient use of the spectrum by the government, (2) stimulate improved and new beneficial applications of telecommunications, and (3) support telecommunications policy research that may assist national telecommunications growth. To advance such goals, the OT (1) researches the improved use of the spectrum, (2) supports federal spectrum management, (3) conducts engineering evaluations of telecommunications systems, (4) performs re- search and analyses for national decision-making in telecommunications, and (5) fosters the growth of the U. S. telecommunications industry. OT INVOLVEMENT IN SIGNIFICANT TECHNOLOGIES l The OT report "Lowering Barriers to Telecommunications Growth" concentrates on four significant telecommunications technologies and their applications--direct satellite communications, land mobile radio, fiber optic systems, and broadband communications. The panel found that the OT report has provided a stimulus toward a broader discussion of several important telecommunications issues. Accordingly, the four technologies are meaningful, because each promises to be a significant element in the nation's telecommu- nications future. The careful descriptions and analyses of each tech- nology contributes to a wider dissemination and discussion of the ad- vantages and disadvantages and the work that still needs to be done. The panel observes that the usefulness of the report might have been enhanced if the four technologies had been placed in an order of priority.

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3 Moreover, based on OT's estimate of industry's reaction to the report, the panel concluded that, in view of the limited resources available to the OT, the report may not have justified the major OT task force effort involved in its preparation. However, in the pro- cess of developing the document, the OT initiated some valuable inter- actions with industrial organizations. In this connection, the panel recommends that the OT continue to develop contacts with manufacturing and service organizations in tele- com~unications, computers, and other related industries in order to keep informed on subjects of mutual interest and to avoid undertaking R&D activities that are being carried out adequately elsewhere. Indeed, because of the limitation of the OT resources and the prodigious tech- nological activities in the private sector, the panel recommends that the OT limit its own work to the four specific technological areas it has chosen to relate to its traditional work. In general, the panel concludes that, with the present level of personnel and their back- grounds, OT should use its resources primarily to address specific technical issues. Direct Satellite Communications Communications experts have projected an impressive growth poten- tial for Direct Satellite Communications (DSC) Systems. The probable characteristics of such systems include: small inexpensive earth sta- tion terminals (with 0.5 to 3.0 meter antenna diameters) at or close to the user's premises; satellites with high-power transmitters, multiple high-gain antenna beams, and on-board message switching; and operating frequencies in the gigahertz range. Because the cost of communications by satellites tends to be un- related to distance and because DSC systems could use small, relative- ly inexpensive ground antennas, the potential for some types of com- munications services at reasonable prices appears most auspicious. Without satellites, such communications services would probably be un- attainable. In the private sector, DSC systems are likely to develop, as costs permit, for specialized services such as teleconferencing by such large users as major corporations, business conferences, and news media. In addition, DSC systems would be particularly useful for public service uses, where the participants are now unaggregated, in remote locations with low population density. Potential public service uses of DSC include health care delivery, education lessons, electronic mail, search and rescue operations, environmental data collection, and weather reporting and disaster warning services. Today, however, public service needs are ill-defined and disaggregated. Moreover, public service communications needs do not necessarily coincide with the requirements of other applications. Aggregation of a number of services would tend to make the system more cost-effective. A number of other countries, including the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Iran, India, Indonesia, and Brazil are moving ahead with domestic satellite development. France, Japan, At

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4 least some of the more technologically advanced of these could offer the U. S. strong competition in the international communications sat- ellite market. Moreover, two international telecommunications con- ferences, the World Administrative Radio Conferences (WARC) of 1977 and 1979, could have a significant impact on U. S. domestic satellite developments. This impact could be in the form of restricted space slots or changes in spectrum allocation for space transmissions. The 1977 Conference dealt with international allocation of satel- lite frequencies, and in regions 1 and 3 (Eurasia and Africa) made specific allocations of geostationary satellite orbital slots. Sim- ilar allocations in region 2 (the Americas) are planned for the 1980's, by which time it will be necessary for the U. S. to reach agreement with other countries of North and South America on the sharing of restricted satellite orbital space. The 1979 WARC will review alloca- tions over the entire radio spectrum in the light of the needs of the 1980's. The characteristics of communications satellite spacing can affect the complexity, size, cost, and geographic distribution of ground stations. In view of the increasing importance to the nation of satellite communications, and because of the many complex related subjects that need resolution, the OT has recommended this subject as worthy of exacting federal attention. Therefore, the panel urges that DSC sys- tems should become a target for significant government involvement. The federal government can act to catalyze a national dialogue on the optimum use of communications satellite systems in the future. What is clearly needed is a well-balanced national communications satellite program involving both government and private sectors. In this con- nection, the OT can be useful in developing the technical information on which sound federal policy decisions are made. Such information should include the technological characteristics and associated costs of small ground terminals and satellite narrow-beam switched antennas, as well as assess the viewpoints of the actual and prospective users of the systems. The OT/ITS already has instituted a DSC effort that seeks to cata- lyze the public service sector into the systematic development of a pilot communications program. Through this effort, the OT/ITS has come to understand the complex and interrelated organizational, structural, financial, and market factors necessary to the successful implementa- tion of such a system. The OT/ITS effort to integrate and coordinate, both geographically and organizationally, those diverse communications satellite requirements of public service institutions, the panel ob- serves, should not only be continued, but augmented. One aspect of this effort might include the development by OT/ITS of relatively low-cost ground stations--the requirements for which are driven by user needs--designed as part of the total space/ground system for maximum cost-effectiveness of the DSC system. Working within the Executive Branch, and coordinating its effort with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in par- ticular, OT/ITS can serve to coalesce the diverse user community among

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5 the federal departments and agencies, focusing on the engineering and economic aspects of a satellite communications system designed to meet the needs of many interests and concerns in the nation. Land Mobile Radio Land Mobile Radio (LMR) is defined as radio communications between a fixed location and one or more vehicles, as well as communications be- tween vehicles. LMR is growing so rapidly that the demand for it is expected to double by 1985. LMR equipment sales currently total almost $800 million annually and are expected to increase to $2 billion by 1985. LMR equipment is a highly competitive market for U. S. and foreign suppliers. Among the issues that tend to erect potential barriers to the growth of this service in the U. S. are: spectrum congestion; user re- luctance to share channels; lack of performance measures; regulatory uncertainties; uncertainties regarding use of the 900 MHz band; inter- national spectrum interference; and the need for improved long-range planning. Clearly, LAIR is an important area of technical policy study. The panel considers that OT's technological expertise in radio systems and propagation can contribute in a support capacity to policy- making for land mobile radio. Among the possible areas of OT's con- tribution: support to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the more efficient use of the spectrum; support to the FCC and OTP (or its successor agency) in spectrum allocation, measurement of spectrum efficiency, and examination of spectrum sharing possibilities; study of the 900 MHz interference problem along the Mexican and Canadian bor- ders; and support to federal agencies preparing for international meet- ings dealing with land mobile communications. Fiber Optics Fiber optic technology has made significant advances in the past few years. Glass fiber communication links being developed today pro- vide excellent communications quality. What is more, as the technology matures, costs can be expected to drop below those for present telecom- munications transmission methods. Fiber optic communications (FOC) R&D is making rapid strides both in the U. S. and abroad. Domestic efforts are being carried out by the major common carriers, industrial manufacturers, universities, and the Department of Defense. Foreign countries are also vigorously engaged in developing fiber optic technology. In the approximate order of their technological capability, the countries are: Japan, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, and Canada. Japan, in particular, could overtake the U. S. in FOC technology in the near future.

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6 1) Character of Current Research Fiber optic research centers on such components as light sources, fiber and cables, detectors, and couplers that will be used in trans- mission lines. The progress in this work has led to improved transmis- sion capability that should upgrade the quality of many existing com- munications systems, even if the general architecture remains unchanged. As transmisison capability increases, it becomes necessary to rethink and rebalance old systems for better performance. Perhaps the prepond- erance of the development, other than for components, is involved in systems engineering. Moreover, additional systems and uses are being sought for fiber optic technology. The impact of fiber optics on society could be as revolutionary as the impact of the transistor--and just as extensive. There are few untapped areas in such research. Throughout the world about 5,000 to 10,000 scientists, engineers, and technicians are developing the new technology. In order for small research groups such as OT/ITS to maximize the probability of success in this field, it is necessary to concentrate on areas within its capability, while simultaneously searching for untapped research opportunities. 2) Advantages of Research at OT/ITS Fiber optic research introduces a new telecommunications technol- ogy to OT/ITS at a time when the technology is in evolution. The in- tegration of such research into a laboratory that has achieved inter- national recognition for excellence in the field of terrestrial propa- gation will require careful attention to program content. Achieving this goal will broaden OT/ITS competence across other technologies that are used in telecommunications and, in addition, enrich OT/ITS intellectual exchange. Accordingly, to institute a program with any hope of success, fiber optic research needs to have sufficient breadth to link it with other research in the field and also sufficient depth to make a tech- nical contribution. Because the OT/ITS program is limited in size, new work should concentrate on those problems that do not duplicate the extensive work already underway elsewhere. One area that satisfies these criteria is the study of architectures for small fiber optic communications systems--a topic already identified as a priority by OT/ITS. This choice offers several advantages. Work on the architecture of systems provides the maximum contact a small group can maintain within an extensive research community. It permits a degree of inter- action within OT/ITS because of systems research already underway in terrestrial propagation and the consequent overlap of the questions that need to be addressed in both cases. Moreover, large system development is now adequately covered by the common carriers and the military. Small system work is not attracting as much research, be- cause there are few organizations that regard it within their purview

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7 and have the financial resources to undertake it. Finding and'demon- strating small autonomous systems applications would permit the formul'a- tion of concise research and engineering goals. OT/ITS might be able to-develop and aggregate systems applications of fiber optics for the public services sector in conjunction with other federal departments. One possible example is a communications system for a hospital or large building complex. The OT/ITS has initiated work in this connection. Such a system might also incorporate monitoring and control of energy systems to increase efficiency and improve conservation. To be cost- effective, applications of this type will need to be part of an aggre- gated communications system. Several activities in optical fibers now underway at OT/ITS fall in the category of liaison with external groups--user meetings, standards, technology assessment, etc. These are essential to maintain a fresh flow of information into OT/ITS and should be maintained. They should be utilized as a tool, however, to stimulate the internal development program rather than as a focus of attention, particularly after an internal program is functioning. The OT/ITS is in an advantageous position to take an active role in the advancing field of fiber optics. In saying this, the panel points to several possible directions for the OT/ITS to take: 1) act as an information clearinghouse for disseminating information on inter- national fiber optic developments to government and industry; 2) pro- vide expert technical advice on fiber optics to government agencies (for this purpose OT/ITS expertise in fiber optic technology would need to be augmented); 3) in conjunction with the National Bureau of Standards and industry associations, take part in setting technical standards for national applications of fiber optics (the standards might apply to a range of high- and low-capacity fiber systems); and 4) provide techni- cal support to the U. S. delegation at international conferences deal- ing with fiber optic communications. Broadband Communications Broadband communications networks are able to transmit information at high rates to many users in video, audio, or digital forms, sometimes with a bi-directional capability. The common carriers and cable tele- vision (CATV) operators now offer broadband services. In addition, a number of non-entertainment services to the home appear promising for broadband communications, according to the OT report, "Lowering Bar- riers to Telecommunications Growth," including education, information access, shopping services, transportation reservations, banking, sens- ing systems, and services for the handicapped and disadvantaged. The potential of such home services has not advanced significantly since the possibilities were recognized more than a decade ago. 1 _