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8 Broadband services have made relatively greater progress in insti- tutional and commercial applications. Among such applications are: urban administration, health care, industrial (inventory control, sur- veillance, security alarms, and training), commercial (data exchange and information retrieval), wired military bases, and education. While the long-run future of broadband communications services is bright, the panel observes that the short-run is clouded by the absence of a definitive market demand, as well as by institutional and regulato- ry obstacles. The potential applications of broadband communications, particular- ly to meet the needs of the federal government, need to be examined and defined, and the technological capability ought to be assessed. If the government were to become involved in a broadband public service demon- stration project, the OT could provide assistance with technical support to the principal federal agency. Other useful technical efforts for OT might be: 1) examination of potential interference with air traffic control signals caused by cable television system leakages; 2) support in setting standards for cable television systems; and 3) evaluation of the consequences of fiber optic technology. UTILITY AND FEASIBILITY OF SELECTED OT ACTIVITIES At its meeting in Boulder, Colorado, the panel dealt primarily with the activities at the OT's Institute of Telecommunications Sciences. The panel commends the Institute for the manner in which it is perform- ing its mission as the central federal laboratory for research on the transmission of radio waves. Its functions include predictions of elec- tromagnetic wave propagation in the various media of importance and ad- vancing the efficient use of the spectrum and widening its boundaries of usefulness. The panel also approves of OT/ITS efforts to attract experts in relatively new and rapidly advancing areas of telecommunica- tions technology such as data transmission, satellite communications, and fiber optic systems. The panel is impressed with the competence and professionalism of the OT/ITS staff. The panel is not disturbed that a large portion of OT/ITS funding comes from federal departments and agencies other than the Department of Commerce. In fact, the panel is rather favorably impressed by the demands made by other agencies for OT/ITS services. This is an indica- tion of satisfied customers returning for more services of the same high quality. It is the function of the OT management to screen the large number of requests for assistance in order to ensure that the tasks to be performed are of a high professional quality, neither mun- dane nor repetitive in character. Such tasks should be consistent with the OT/ITS mission and with its high level of technical competence. Moreover, the tasks should concern those telecommunications services that are in the forefront of technology and relate to national objec- tives. The tasks should not duplicate commercially available research services. The panel has reason to believe that such a selective assess- ment of tasks is being carried out by the OT management.

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9 Although the Department of Defense has provided the primary source of sponsorship by federal agencies other than Commerce for some time, OT/ITS has had project contracts with at least nine non-Defense agencies in-1977 alone. The panel approves the recent efforts by OT/ITS to in- crease its work and establish closer relationships with additional fed- eral agencies. A diversity of projects and sponsors would go a long way toward increasing the independence and usefulness of OT/ITS as a re- search asset to the entire federal establishment and to the nation. Panel members have been favorably impressed by the OT/ITS Confer- ences on Telecommunications for Government held in Boulder, Colorado, in the latter half of each year since 1972. The quality and usefulness of such meetings have improved steadily. They provide the participants from federal departments and agencies with useful information about the state-of-the-art of telecommunications and serve as a catalyst to en- hance interaction among government staff engaged in telecommunications programs. To increase the effectiveness of the conferences, the panel urges the OT/ITS to consider including representatives of the telecom- munications industry as a means of achieving closer government-industry interaction on telecommunications developments and applications. In addition, the OT should consider inviting technical staffs of major public awareness organizations concerned with the future of telecom- munications in the U. S. In a previous report, issued in June 1975, another panel of the National Research Council was somewhat disturbed with the unchanging state of the OT/ITS professional staff--a situation common to institu- tions whose growth has leveled off. In such cases, the influx of able young professionals who can bring innovative ideas and fresh vitality to an organization, particularly one devoted to research, is often re- stricted. The panel is concerned that this may still be a problem at the OT/ITS. One of the dangers in such a situation is that an organization may be losing its most competent staff members, who are attracted to greener pastures, while retaining those who are satisfied with the status quo. Staff plannning and reviews by the OT administration are necessary to solve this problem. Among the solutions that could be explored are 1) an exchange program of personnel with other federal departments, industry, universities, and non-profit research organiza- tions, and 2) a vigorous training program to upgrade the expertise of OT personnel in rapidly advancing technologies. Under its agreement with the OT, the panel undertook a review of selected technical activities of the OT/ITS. The panel's evaluation follows: Electromagnetic Spectrum Use _ OT/ITS expertise in spectrum research has grown from its roots in the Interservice Radio Propagation Laboratory, founded in the National Bureau of Standards during World War II, and its successsor, the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory, established in the Bureau of Standards

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10 immediately after World War II. While some of the operations and func- tions of the OT/ITS might possibly be carried on outside the government, study of the radio spectrum requires a centralized federal agency. It is appropriate, therefore, for the OT/ITS to carry on research in all phases of radio propagation and to serve as a source of knowledge and understanding about the spectrum's physical characteristics and vari- ability. The spectrum is an important national resource, but it is also a resource which must be shared with other nations. By its nature, the radio spectrum is variable in time and place. The public interest requires that it be allocated and used with maximum efficiency and ef- fectiveness, within the boundaries set by international treaties and agreements. Under the 1934 Communications Act, the President is responsible for the management and assignment of about 25 percent of the spectrum that is allocated exclusively for government use. OT and the Office of Tele- communications Policy (OTP) in the White House have shared the responsi- bility for managing this portion of the radio spectrum. Under Reorgan- ization Plan No. 1 the responsibility will go to a new unit in the De- partment of Commerce, which will absorb the OT. The OT also shares with the FCC the management of about 40 percent of the total spectrum that is allocated for both government and private uses. To manage and promote the efficient use of the spectrum, OT func- tions in three broad areas: 1) spectrum management and information; 2) spectrum analysis; and 3) spectrum engineering and development. Spectrum management is an essential area of competence for OT. In this area, OT has provided sound technical advice on spectrum engineer- ing and allocation methods to the OTP, FCC, and the Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee. For example, OT's computer center, in oper- ation since 1976, tests proposed government radio systems to determine their compatibility with existing systems. The role of OT as the government's spectrum manager is likely to carry increased responsibilities by virtue of the 1977 Reorganization Plan No. 1, under a newly created Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. Consequently, the panel recommends that the current competence of the OT/ITS not only needs to be sustained but extended, so that it can contribute more effectively to the study and management of the radio spectrum. Problems arising from spectrum availability have been described as critical or in a state of "crisis" (Hillier, 1966~. OT/ITS and its pre- decessors have made important contributions to the expansion of the useful spectrum, as well as to increasing the application of previously used frequency bands. Now, even greater efficiency needs to be achieved in spectrum utilization and management through effective research. Based on its experience and the logic of the situation, the OT should continue research and development of new methods for the more efficient division and allocation of the available spectrum and for extending the usable spectrum toward higher frequencies of 10-100 gHz and beyond. It also should continue its research into techniques to transmit more information over a channel of a given bandwidth.

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11 No _ priori mix of effort between the alternative methods of spectrum expansion should be specified by any review committee. Rather, the appropriate mix requires continuing analysis by the OT. Progress in each area must be monitored on a step-by-step basis and decisions concerning relative priorities must be based on an evaluation of the promise of new developments. Methods for the more efficient use of the spectrum are an important responsibility of OT/ITS. The importance of good engineering solutions grows in parallel with the increase in demand for the diverse uses of the spectrum. Exploration of the spectrum's five-dimensional character-- involving frequency, time and the three space dimensions--should be pushed to the limit. The solutions may involve the possible use of directional antenna characteristics to explore the space dimension and the use of computers to exploit the time dimension by providing more effective time-sharing through temporary assignments. Research in the engineering of spectrum assignment is a responsi- bility of the OT that has proven of significant service to the nation. It follows, then, that to enhance the OT's capabilities, the use for exploring the time dimension of the radio spectrum should be given more attention in order to advance the study and analysis of possible methods for increasing spectrum efficiency. Through its work in the theory, research, and operation of the electromagnetic spectrum, the OT is uniquely qualified to exploit the synergism among the three approaches to the most efficient use of the spectrum. In addition, the panel suggests that the OT maintain close coor- dination with the Advanced Research Project Agency's development activ- ities on the better use of the spectrum, especially in packet technolo- gies and satellite systems. Radio Propagation The frequency spectrum is a limited but reusable natural resource that needs to be used efficiently and effectively. The OT/ITS three- frequency propagation experiment in the 10-100 gHz range is an excel- lent example of research that has a high potential for important sup- port of user agencies. However, attention must also be paid to concur- rent industry development of hardware capable of taking advantage of the new frequency bands that are becoming available. OT/ITS proposes several areas of radio propagation for future re- search. These include the development of: 1) descriptors and measure- ment techniques for describing interference-limited system performance; 2) modulation and coding techniques for increasing the capacity of spec- trum space; 3) methods to overcome receiver imperfections on spectrum utilization; and 4) VHF/UHF propagation in urban and rural areas. Such proposed areas of research show promise for improving the use of the spectrum and warrant adequate allocation of resources. Moreover, increased effort in these areas is needed to maintain and augment the OT/ITS leadership in research on radio propagation.

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12 Data Communications Performance Standards - The General Services Administration has proposed a federal stan- dard to identify and define performance for digital communications sys- tems. OT/ITS estimates that 5 to 6 percent or about $6 million of the federal government's annual data communications bill could be saved by adopting such a standard. The panel estimates that at least a 20 per- cent saving could result from the development of an efficient method to select the right service or system--one that avoids the procurement of a system more costly than necessary to fill the requirements. Reaching this objective involves: o Developing a method for delineating standards rather than attempting to set the standard itself; o Distinguishing end-to-end performance from performance of the separately purchased components; o Providing a technique to decompose end-to-end requirements into requirements for purchasable systems; o Producing a method or methods for showing how to integrate the parts into a whole system; and o Using a readily comprehensible definition of terms. Through such techniques, easily understood methods and goals could be devised for setting effective standards. Information Sector Analysis Over the past two years, the OT has undertaken to define and mea- sure the nation's information industry and to examine the structure of that sector. The impact and importance of the information sector in the U. S. economy and, specifically, the differential effects of changes in policies and technologies are clearly of prime importance to policymak- ers, as well as to the public. Prior to OT's analysis, little work had been done on this complex problem, because it requires considerable da- ta and analysis. Input-output modeling, as has been done in the ini- tial analysis by the OT, is useful in attacking this problem. The ini- tial results demonstrate that important insights into the economic infrastructure can result from such work. The private sector provides some data on market sizes through proprietary studies, but these address only limited areas where the industry expects significant return. More complete studies of the impact and the economics of policy decisions within the information industry are of great value and thus are an important and well-directed activity of the OT.

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REFERENCE . Hillier, John (1966) Electromagnetic Spectrum Utilization--the Silent Crisis. Commerce Technical Advisory Board. Washington, D. C.: . . U. S. Department of Commerce. .