NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
is the principal adviser to the President, Vice President, and Secretary
of Commerce on domestic and international communications policy. NTIA's
mission is to promote the development of an advanced telecommunications
and information infrastructure that efficiently serves the needs of all
Americans, creates job opportunities for American workers, and enhances
the competitiveness of U.S. industry in the global marketplace.
In fulfilling its mission, NTIA: (a) promotes national policies to
increase competition and efficient investment in telecommunications and
information industries, enhance consumer welfare and economic and social
opportunities for all, and remove impediments to the growth and vitality
of these sectors; (b) supports the development of a National Information
Infrastructure (NII) that will be accessible to all Americans; (c) administers
the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program
(TIIAP), which helps to provide access to advanced telecommunications services;
(d) manages the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), which
provides funding to extend the reach of public television and radio; (e)
sets policies for efficiently and effectively managing the Federal use
of the radio spectrum; and prepares for international radio spectrum conferences
of the International Telecommunication Union; (f) advocates international
telecommunications policies that will help open international markets and
promote the interests of the United States; and (g) engages in technical
research to improve telecommunications system planning, design, and evaluation
and to support government and industry efforts in these areas.
NTIA operated in FY 1996 with a total budget of $66.4 million and
300 FTEs. The agency adjusted to reduced operating funds through management
decisions to limit hiring and discretionary spending (travel, training,
promotions, etc.). These decisions, along with employee attrition, allowed
NTIA to complete the year without a reduction in force.
NTIA's accomplishments in 1996 contributed to the fulfillment of
the agency's mission. Following are the highlights of these activities.
NTIA serves as the principal Executive branch adviser to the President
on domestic and international communications and information policies.
To fulfill this responsibility, NTIA develops and articulates Administration
policies on domestic telecommunications policy issues; analyzes and proposes
Administration positions on legislation and regulations; and represents
the Administration in policy forums, conferences, and symposia. In addition,
NTIA promotes minority participation in telecommunications through its
Minority Telecommunications Development Program (MTDP). The agency promotes
the Administration's priorities through major filings with the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) on a wide range of topics, a continuing
emphasis on universal service and the public good, and support for the
application of new technology.
On February 8, 1996, President Clinton signed the first most significant
telecommunications reform legislation in over sixty years, fulfilling one
of the President's major first term goals and facilitating development
of the National Information Infrastructure. As the first revision of the
Communications Act of 1934, the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 is
intended to increase technological innovation, competition, and consumer
choice in the industry. The law is now being implemented through rulemakings
before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). NTIA played a substantial
role in the enactment of the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 and
is actively participating on behalf of the Administration in the appropriate
FCC proceedings. A listing of NTIA filings is included as Appendix I. Appendix
II contains a listing of testimony and speeches delivered in 1996. A brief
description of major domestic policy activities follows.
Extensive debate is underway in the United States and numerous other
countries on how to define universal service and how to promote open access
to it, particularly in the context of further liberalization in telecommunications
markets and progress toward realizing the goals of the National Information
Infrastructure (NII) and similar foreign infrastructure initiatives. As
a general proposition, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandates that
communications be made available to all people of the United States without
discrimination. In addition, it seeks to ensure that schools and libraries
(and -- to a lesser extent -- rural health care facilities) become connected
to the NII through preferential rates for universal services.
NTIA, in conjunction with the Department of Education and the Department
of Agriculture, proposed a plan for implementing the new universal service
support mechanisms created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The plan,
referred to as the E-rate (education rate), would guarantee universal access
to telecommunications and information services for every school and library
in America. It provides a framework for ensuring that access to these services
for schools and libraries is affordable. President Clinton personally endorsed
the plan, which was adopted in large part in recommendations by the Federal-State
Joint Board on Universal Service now being considered by the FCC.
NTIA has also urged the FCC and States to adopt universal service policies
that ensure a basic package of affordable telecommunications services for
all Americans while fostering meaningful competition in the telecommunications
marketplace. NTIA's policy proposals supported barring local telephone
companies from disconnecting local service for non-payment of long distance
bills; encouraging low cost (or even no-cost) toll restriction services
(allowing incoming toll calls only); exploring wireless and other technologies
as a means of reaching unserved areas and low income, highly mobile persons;
and promoting provision of telephone and computer service to more individuals
by community access centers. NTIA continues to participate actively in
the forums where this plan is being considered.
NTIA and the Benton Foundation jointly sponsored the "Up for Grabs:
Communications Practice and Policy in the Public Interest" conference
in June. The conference brought together policy makers, industry representatives,
and community service providers to discuss applications of advanced telecommunications
technology in improved health care, education and civic participation.
NTIA was instrumental in the advent of spectrum auctions and the development
of electronic bidding mechanisms used by the FCC. NTIA's multi-year development
and advocacy of a policy to permit the FCC to use auctions in the assignment
of radio frequency licenses made possible the first-ever such auctions
in 1994. These auctions improved significantly the FCC's license assignment
process and also brought revenue to the U.S. Treasury, with high bids to
date totaling over $23 billion.
Current issues being examined by NTIA include the desirability of using
auctions to award licenses for particular services, as well as the ways
in which the current auction format can be modified to increase an auction's
closing speed, increase auction revenue, and enhance economic efficiency.
NTIA is also analyzing the desirability of granting license holders greater
latitude in the manner in which they may use their spectrum. Also in 1996,
NTIA announced that it intends to relinquish the Federal Government's primary
status on 125 channels inside the 220-222 MHZ band. These channels are
currently allocated equally to the Federal Government and to private users.
NTIA recommended that the FCC adopt a combinatorial approach to auction
the 220-222 MHZ band for commercial mobile services, as an improvement
in auction methodology.
Community Wireless Networks
The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking recommending that some
spectrum be set aside for use by nonlicensed multimedia wireless network
devices. The proposal, when implemented, is expected to provide opportunities
for entities such as schools, libraries, and businesses to make wireless
network connections at a relatively low cost. NTIA supported the proposal
because of its potential for meeting the Administration's goal of expanded
opportunities for Americans to gain access to telecommunications services
by the year 2000. NTIA also made recommendations to lessen the potential
for nonlicensed users to interfere with critical Federal operations.
NTIA supported shared use of government spectrum for the development of
these unlicensed NII/Supernet devices, which can be used to provide low-cost
community networking services.
Increased Competition and Technological Innovation
NTIA successfully advocated domestic policies to increase competition
and technological innovation. NTIA opposed petitions to the FCC to regulate
firms that sell software enabling voice communications by Internet users.
NTIA submitted comments in the FCC's proceeding addressing proposals for
a transition from analog to digital television. The FCC is deciding how
unneeded analog spectrum will be allocated and whether assignment would
be by competitive bidding. The comments urged retention of free TV for
the public, while suggesting an appropriate transition for broadcasters
to move from analog to digital transmission.
NTIA filed in the FCC's rulemaking proposing to strengthen broadcasters'
statutory obligation to air educational children's television. The President
and NTIA's Assistant Secretary both submitted comments to the FCC in September
1995, urging strengthening of those requirements to include at least three
hours per week of educational children's programming. The broadcast industry
agreed to the 3-hour per week requirement.
In response to the growing privacy concerns of American consumers, NTIA
released a White Paper, "Privacy and the NII: Safeguarding Telecommunications-Related
Personal Information." This White Paper proposes a framework for developing
minimum privacy standards that communications and information service providers,
such as telephone companies and video and on-line service providers, would
use to protect personal information supplied by customers subscribing to
and using their services.
Since issuing the White Paper, NTIA has worked with private sector companies
and trade associations to encourage adoption and implementation of meaningful
self-regulatory privacy policies. NTIA also issued a "Call for Papers"
to prominent experts asking them to address different aspects of privacy
and self-regulation and how best to develop and implement self-regulatory
approaches to privacy. NTIA is currently collecting these papers and intends
to conduct a public forum in early 1997 to discuss these issues. Through
these and other initiatives in 1997, NTIA will continue to promote and
work toward acceptance of self-regulatory privacy frameworks.
NTIA, in cooperation with other U.S. government agencies, is also engaged
in bilateral discussions with the European Union (EU) about its privacy
directive which is due to take effect in 1998 and which could have significant
implications for trade between the United States and the EU's fifteen Member
States. We are exploring with the EU how they intend to implement the directive
and evaluate the adequacy of data protection outside the EU, as well as
educating them about the U.S. approach to privacy. In addition, NTIA is
working cooperatively with other nations in such forums as the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), emphasizing the need to
right to privacy while maintaining the free flow of information across
Minority Telecommunications Development Program
NTIA established the Minority Telecommunications Development Program
(MTDP) in 1978 to develop programs and policies that increase minority
ownership of broadcast and telecommunications businesses. MTDP provides
policy input for the development of legislation and regulations that affect
minority business participation in the telecommunications and information
industries. The program also promotes opportunities for small, minority
and women-owned businesses in the telecommunications and information industries.
For the last six years NTIA has collected statistics on minority ownership
of commercial broadcast properties and released its findings in a report.
The 1996 report entitled, "Minority Commercial Broadcast Ownership
in the United States," provides an analysis of several factors including
financing, legislation and policies that affect minority ownership. MTDP
provides the only data of its kind on minority ownership. Last year minority
ownership in the broadcast industry remained stagnant; only 2.9% of broadcast
stations in the United States are owned by minorities.
MTDP's On-Line Resource Center provides centralized access via the Internet
to information on telecommunications financing, business counseling and
training, emerging technologies, new business opportunities, telecommunications
legislative and policy issues that can help to promote greater economic
participation of minority, small and women-owned businesses in the telecommunications
industry. This on-line resource is free of charge and gives business owners
and entrepreneurs useful information to help develop solutions for capital
development, domestic and international market expansion, diversification,
and project management. The Internet address is <http://www.ntia.doc.gov>.
In addition, MTDP offers broadcast management training and consultation
opportunities. Through the ComTrain program, MTDP places minority entrepreneurs
in existing broadcast entities to hone their skills. This program serves
as a resource to minority owners with limited or no broadcast management
experience during the critical stages of station development.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION APPLICATIONS
The NII is an effort to use new telecommunications and information technologies
to connect Americans to one another, to services, and to information. While
the private sector is building the NII, Federal Government actions are
necessary as a catalyst to facilitate and encourage private development
of the NII. NTIA continues to demonstrate leadership in the development
of the NII through its management of the Telecommunications and Information
Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP), participation in the Telecommunications
Policy Committee of the Information Infrastructure Task Force, and support
of the U.S. Advisory Council on the NII. NetDay and the Public Telecommunications
Facilities Program complete the agency's applications programs.
Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance
TIIAP is a matching grants program that promotes the expansion and effective
use of the NII by public and nonprofit entities at the community level.
TIIAP provides matching grants to non-profit organizations (schools, libraries,
community organizations, hospitals, police and fire departments, state
and local governments) that develop innovative applications of new information
and communications technologies. In 1996, sixty-seven public institutions,
competitively selected from over 800 applicants, were awarded $18.6 million
in federal matching grants. Projects were selected on the basis of their
ability to serve as models that can be replicated across the country. Appendix
III contains a listing of FY 1996 TIIAP grantees.
Over the past three years, the program has awarded $80 million to 277
projects, which was matched by more than $130 million in non-Federal funds
to invest in the development of the National Information Infrastructure.
Connection of these public institutions to the NII by the year 2000 is
one of this Administration's priorities. Four of the ten organizations
that received 1996 National Information Infrastructure (NII) Awards for
extraordinary achievement on the Internet got seed funding from TIIAP.
The program recently announced its fourth grant competition, with applications
due March 27, 1997.
In 1996, NTIA also released the "Lessons Learned from TIIAP"
report, which presents the initial experiences of the projects funded in
1994 and 1995. The report offers a snapshot look at the community impacts
of TIIAP projects, and presents examples of how specific projects are using
advanced telecommunications and information technologies to provide better
services, to strengthen community ties, and to provide increased access
to information for thousands of Americans.
Information Infrastructure Task Force
NTIA continued to support the Administration's Information Infrastructure
Task Force, or IITF. Assistant Secretary Irving chairs the Telecommunications
Policy Committee which was instrumental in formulating the Administration's
position for the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Assistant Secretary Irving
also chairs the Universal Service Working Group. In a restructuring of
the IITF, the Reliability and Vulnerability Working Group (RVWG) moved
to the Information Policy Committee. The International Telecommunications
Policy Working Group, a subset of the Telecommunications Policy Committee,
helped to support Administration policies and programs in the international
U.S. Advisory Council on the NII
NTIA provided secretariat functions for the National Information Infrastructure
Advisory Council (NIIAC), which held its concluding events in Washington,
D.C. on February 13. The NIIAC released two final reports, "Kickstart
Initiative," and "Nation of Opportunity."
In his 1996 State of the Union address, President Clinton underscored
the importance of using technology to achieve our nation's educational
goals and set forth a vision to connect all classrooms to the Information
Superhighway by the year 2000. In March 1996, President Clinton and Vice
President Gore kicked-off NetDay96 -- a nationwide voluntary effort to
bring together industry, students, teachers, parents and committed citizens
to wire classrooms throughout the country. In California alone, more than
20,000 volunteers and more than 200 businesses joined together to install
6 million feet of wire to connect classrooms in 2,600 schools. By the end
of the year, over 40 states had organized a NetDay96 effort.
NTIA strongly supported the NetDay96 initiative by working to ensure
that schools serving rural and inner-city underserved communities were
not left behind in this important effort. NTIA staff volunteered their
personal time to help pull wires in schools in the Washington, D.C. area.
NetDay activities will continue in 1997.
Public Telecommunications Facilities Grants Program
NTIA's Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) issued grants
totaling approximately $13.4 million to 96 recipient organizations in 42
states, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The
grants enable public broadcasting organizations, as well as many nonbroadcast
operations, to buy equipment to activate new services, extend the range
of present services, and improve existing facilities.
For 1996, PTFP awarded 38 public radio grants, 47 public television
grants, and 11 distance learning grants. The awards will extend a public
radio signal to approximately 2.8 million presently unserved persons and
a public television signal to approximately 700,000 unserved persons. Appendix
IV contains a listing of FY 1996 PTFP grantees.
FEDERAL SPECTRUM MANAGEMENT
NTIA coordinates Federal government policies regarding spectrum use,
planning, emergency operations and international coordination of government
satellite systems; manages the Federal radio spectrum necessary for national
defense, public safety, air traffic control, national resource management
and other critical government functions; and prepares and coordinates Federal
government proposals for ITU World Radio Conferences and related technical
meetings. Major issues include spectrum management reform, negotiations
regarding the integration and interference protection for satellite systems
(GPS and GLONASS) that will support the evolving Global Navigation Satellite
system for air traffic control, and addressing the public safety spectrum
requirements through the year 2010 through the joint FCC/NTIA Public Safety
Wireless Advisory Committee.
Spectrum Policy and Planning
During 1996, NTIA continued its two programs to promote more efficient
use of the radio spectrum. The first, the Spectrum Openness Program, provides
industry the opportunity to (1) present its views on Federal radiocommunication
issues, (2) receive advice on spectrum allocation matters and requirements,
and (3) obtain information on Federal use of the spectrum directly from
NTIA personnel and the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC).
The second, the Strategic Spectrum Planning Program, encompasses a long-range
spectrum planning process designed to identify and address all U.S. spectrum
needs more effectively. NTIA has also begun an automated Federal spectrum
management system to provide a standardized computer-automated method for
the Federal agencies to submit applications for spectrum support, select
spectrum technically that is interference free, and validate that the spectrum
requested is within the rules and regulations governing spectrum authorization.
It is becoming critical to view spectrum issues in a unified context
for both Federal and non-Federal use. Spectrum management includes a long-range
spectrum planning process designed to identify and address all U.S. spectrum
needs more effectively. Under this program, a Notice Of Inquiry was issued
to ascertain Federal and non-Federal user spectrum requirements for the
future. A report, High Frequency (3-30 MHz) Spectrum Planning Options,
was approved for publication in December 1996. This report addressed the
spectrum requirements for the radio services requiring use of the high
frequency (HF) radio spectrum from 3 to 30 MHz. Many nations use HF for
communications with vessels, aircraft, for amateur operations, and for
international broadcasting. Developing countries still use HF for domestic,
internal communications where the telephone infrastructure is not mature.
An additional 3,088 kHz of HF spectrum access is needed to satisfy current
and future requirements for the aeronautical, maritime, broadcasting, and
amateur services. This report identifies HF bands where increased sharing
can be accomplished, and where the bands may be reallocated from the fixed
service to one or more of the mobile, amateur, or broadcasting services.
International Spectrum Policy & Planning
NTIA played a key role in the preparation of U.S. proposals for the
World Radio Conference 1997 (WRC-97). NTIA, through the Radio Conference
Subcommittee of the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC), approved
twenty-six draft proposals that were sent to the Federal Communications
Commission for coordination and approval. NTIA and the FCC have established
a joint process for the development of draft U.S. proposals for world radiocommunications
conferences. NTIA coordinated proposals from Federal government agencies
and the FCC prepared nongovernment proposals via its WRC-97 Advisory Committee.
To make U.S. proposals available to other administrations as early as possible,
NTIA and FCC jointly released drafts for public review as they were developed.
Based on international feedback, these proposals may be modified prior
to submission to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Nine
proposals have been completed during 1996, and eleven more draft proposals
are awaiting joint release to the public for comment.
Beginning in 1993, NTIA worked closely with a U.S. task group
formed to respond to the ITUs Study Group 1 requirement for a new recommendation
limiting the spurious emissions from all transmitters, both radar and radiocommunication.
Working with a group of government and manufacturer representatives, the
task group prepared U.S. proposals for four international meetings and
led the work to agree on a final Recommendation in November 1996. The U.S.
position took care to arrive at a balanced set of spurious emission limitations
that would not only foster interference-free communications but also would
not require overly protective and costly additions to engineering and manufacturing
for existing systems. The Recommendation was adopted by the ITU Study Group
1 and will be presented to the WRC 97.
During 1996, NTIA contributed substantially to the products of several
ITU Study Groups. These products include:
-- handbooks on spectrum management and monitoring;
-- guidelines on the development of a Basic Automated Spectrum Management
System, which have been provided to developing countries;
-- spectrum sharing analyses for the Fixed Satellite Service and "Big
LEO" mobile satellites; and,
-- world-wide recommendations on cellular and PCS systems that recognize
These products and NTIA's work with the ITU overall play a key role
in maintaining and expanding access to the global market for U.S. products
Federal Spectrum Assignments
To fulfill the Federal government's needs for radio spectrum, NTIA processes
frequency assignment requests -- including requests for new frequency assignments,
changes to existing assignments and deletions of assignments -- which are
received from Federal agencies. In addition, NTIA certifies major radiocommunication
systems. These systems enable the Federal government to continue provision
of essential services to the public such as air traffic control, law enforcement,
national defense, and resources management. NTIA maintains the Government
Master File (GMF) -- 402,000 frequency assignments by the end of 1996 as
compared to 393,605 by the end of 1995. There were approximately 88,284
Federal agency requests for assignment actions in 1996 as compared with
99,629 in 1995. NTIA certified 91 new radiocommunication systems valued
at approximately $2.4 billion in 1996. NTIA reviewed and coordinated 72
foreign satellite systems and submitted documents on 35 U.S. satellite
systems to the International Telecommunication Union. These actions provided
protection for U.S. satellite systems from interference from other countries.
The Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC), chaired by NTIA,
is made up of representatives from 20 Federal agencies which are major
spectrum users. The IRAC is an integral part of the Federal government's
spectrum management process. It provides (1) advice to NTIA on spectrum
management; (2) resolution of various spectrum issues and problems among
Federal agencies, among the Federal government and non-government sector
through the FCC, and among the Federal government and foreign countries
and international fora such as the International Telecommunication Union;
and (3) recommendations to NTIA relative to national and international
spectrum issues, Federal spectrum policy and Federal rules and regulations.
The IRAC is chaired and administered by NTIA. The IRAC and its subcommittees
and ad hoc groups have conducted approximately 124 meetings and addressed
over 3,400 documents in 1996. These documents covered various Federal,
non-Federal, and international spectrum management, policy, and planning
issues and problems.
Spectrum Management Training
In cooperation with the United States Telecommunications Training Institute
(USTTI), a joint venture that provides free training to professionals from
developing nations, NTIA conducts workshops for telecommunications managers
and specialists from foreign countries. The workshops cover basic spectrum
management and computer-aided techniques, development of commercial enterprises,
and advanced spectrum management. The workshops reinforce U.S. ties with
foreign countries -- especially those moving toward privatization and liberalization
of their telecommunications markets -- and provide a forum to discuss national
and international regulatory and spectrum planning issues. The course this
year involved 23 participants from 17 developing countries including, for
the first time, Cambodia, the Palestinian Authority, and Mongolia. NTIA
has participated in USTTI's training outreach since 1983 and has trained
more than 300 individuals during that time. Many of the individuals who
receive training through these programs will go on to hold leadership positions
within their countries or within the International Telecommunication Union.
NTIA Radio Spectrum Wall Chart
NTIA completed a comprehensive review of spectrum allocations and released
a new version of its popular spectrum wall chart depicting in graphical
form and in thirty-three colors the radio frequency spectrum allocations
in over 450 frequency bands from 9 kHz to 300 GHz. More than 10,000 copies
have been distributed. The new chart is available from the U.S. Government
Printing Office and on the World Wide Web at <http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/allochrt.html>.
Summer Olympics Spectrum Support
NTIA provided daily frequency assignment support during the Summer Olympic
Games in Atlanta, GA. Primary use of the frequency assignments were for
security, transportation, and emergency preparedness. About 40,000 Olympic
personnel and athletes participated, along with approximately 2,500 Federal
law enforcement agents and 8,500 military personnel to help provide security.
Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee (PSWAC) Report
The PSWAC, which advises NTIA and the FCC, released a report addressing
public safety and spectrum support issues through the year 2010. The report
also focused on approaches to be taken as interim steps to relieve present
deficiencies. NTIA and the FCC will jointly address the recommendations
made by the PSWAC. A follow-on effort was proposed by Secretary Irving
calling for the establishment of a National Public Safety Council which
will continue the information flow and strengthen the relationship between
the public safety entities at all levels and assist NTIA and the FCC in
implementing the PSWAC recommendations. The report is available through
the NTIA World-Wide Web site at <http://www.ntia.doc.gov>.
For fiscal year 1997, Congress passed P.L. 104-208 which specifies that
NTIA should not authorize spectrum use or provide services without payment
from user agencies. The accompanying conference report directed NTIA to
bill the agencies $5 million(approximately 36% of spectrum management costs)
in FY 1997. NTIA has received memorandums of understanding from the agencies
and the vast majority of the funds requested have been provided.
INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY
NTIA develops and recommends policy alternatives for Executive Branch
positions on major international telecommunications and information issues.
Specifically, NTIA develops and promotes U.S. policies to improve the international
competitiveness of the U.S. telecommunications industry. NTIA has played
a leading role in promoting and building international consensus for the
core principles underlying the development of the Global Information Infrastructure
(GII). The adoption of these key principles by the world community will
help to increase competition and open markets for U.S. companies.
NTIA has played a lead role in promoting the GII principles in both
international and bilateral fora. NTIA coordinated U.S. participation in
the Information Society and Development Conference in South Africa in May
and the Latin American Telecommunications Summit in Mexico in September.
NTIA also played a key role in promoting U.S. interests at the Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation (APEC) Telecommunications and Information Ministerial
meeting in October. NTIA has continued to be an active participant in the
World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on basic telecommunications,
which would open many of the key foreign telecommunications service markets
to competition. In addition, NTIA played a central role in telecommunications
talks focused on select foreign countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia,
and Africa with significant market opportunities for U.S. providers of
telecommunications goods and services.
Information Society and Development Ministerial Conference
NTIA led the U.S. preparations for the first ever Information Society
and Development (ISAD) Conference which was held in Midrand, South Africa
from May 13-15. The Ministerial Conference provided an unprecedented forum
for 40 ministers from all regions of the world and senior representatives
from many international organizations to work together on policy actions
that will promote the integration of the developing world into the global
information society. The U.S. government's primary objective for this Ministerial
Conference was to promote and expand the consensus on the principles agreed
to at last year's G-7 Ministerial on the Information Society held in Brussels.
At the ISAD Ministerial, NTIA was successful in gaining acceptance for
the Brussels principles. These include the five core policy principles
first articulated by the Vice President in 1994 for the development of
a Global Information Infrastructure (GII): encouraging private investment,
promoting competition, providing open access, creating a flexible regulatory
environment, and ensuring universal service. Acceptance of these principles
represents significant progress in our effort to gain access to foreign
markets, ensure fair trade, and establish solid foundations for growth
in the telecommunications sector.
Latin America Telecommunications Summit
NTIA, in conjunction with the International Trade Administration (ITA)
and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), organized the third
Latin American Telecommunications Summit (LATS) held in Mexico in September.
NTIA led the official U.S. delegation to the Summit which included senior
U.S. government officials from State Department and the FCC. Representatives
from approximately thirty U.S. telecommunications equipment manufacturers
and service providers participated in LATS. Telecommunications Ministers
and senior government telecommunications officials from the largest markets
in Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia,
Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela attended the Summit.
LATS provided the opportunity for the U.S. Government to encourage continued
liberalization and privatization of the telecommunications sector in Latin
America and to facilitate access of U.S. equipment manufacturers and service
providers in the region. LATS also provided an opportunity for U.S. equipment
manufacturers and service providers to promote their products in the Americas.
According to industry participants, the 1993, 1995 and 1996 LATS resulted
in or facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and contracts.
The 1996 LATS was the most successful LATS to date.
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Meetings
NTIA played a key role in both the July 23-26 APEC Working Group on
Telecommunications and the September 2-6 APEC Senior Officials and Ministerial
Meetings on Telecommunications and Information. The APEC group seeks to
develop a collective action plan for telecommunications and information
liberalization by the year 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for
all APEC economies. The APEC Ministers previously agreed on a plan to integrate
telecommunications and information industries of participating nations.
The plan, which is called the Seoul Declaration for the Asia Pacific Information
Infrastructure (APII), adopted the five core principles initially set forth
by Vice President Gore.
World Trade Organization
NTIA continued its active participation in WTO negotiations on basic
telecommunications, which are scheduled to conclude on February 15, 1997.
Through these negotiations, the Administration is striving to eliminate
market access and foreign ownership restrictions around the world and establish
uniform competition rules for this sector. While a number of countries
have made valuable market opening commitments, more and better offers from
key negotiating partners are still required, especially in Asia. NTIA will
continue to work with the interagency negotiating team to secure better
offers and to resolve outstanding issues with regard to international and
satellite services so the negotiations can be concluded successfully by
the February deadline.
ITU World Policy Forum
NTIA participated in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
World Forum in Geneva on policies that will be implemented for advanced
satellite-delivered personal communications. These services will be available
to every part of the world. The ITU Policy Forum adopted guidelines and
principles for national treatment and early introduction of these systems
covering topics of frequency allocation, interconnection to telephone networks,
roaming, terminal equipment and tariffs. As a follow up to our work at
the ITU Policy Forum, NTIA is drafting and assisting in the negotiation
of a Memorandum of Understanding on Global Mobile Personal Communications
by Satellite. Adoption of the Memorandum of Understanding will facilitate
the free circulation of user terminals -- a service that is necessary for
global and regional communications systems to be successful.
European Union Global Standards Conference
Under NTIA's leadership, the European Union Commission's proposal for
the 1997 Global Standards Conference was successfully restructured to feature
the role of industry, rather than governments, in developing and implementing
global standards for the further development of the Global Information
Infrastructure. NTIA led the delegation to preparatory meetings, and coordinated
the U.S. Government position with other agencies and with industry. NTIA
will continue its leadership role in preparing for U.S. participation in
the months leading up to the October 1997 conference.
International Accounting Rate Reform
NTIA, with other Executive Branch agencies, the FCC, and industry continued
to advocate pro-competitive accounting rate reform through participation
in meetings of multilateral organizations and bilateral meetings with individual
foreign governments. Further, NTIA is working with other U.S. agencies
and industry regarding a pending regulatory proceeding before the FCC to
revise existing benchmark settlement rates.
Reform of INTELSAT and Inmarsat
NTIA continued its advocacy for reform and restructuring within the
INTELSAT and Inmarsat global satellite organizations in order to increase
competition and lower user prices in the international telecommunications
sector. The goal is to permit these organizations to seek new commercial
opportunities on a fair, non-discriminatory, and pro-competitive basis
while continuing to provide their core services.
NTIA designed and assisted in negotiating a structural separation system
enabling Inmarsat (and its U.S. signatory, Comsat) to establish an independent,
commercial subsidiary (ICO), which will compete with such enterprises as
Iridium, Odyssey, and Globalstar for the global, mobile handheld, telephony
market. NTIA also has strongly advocated a pro-competitive outcome in negotiating
INTELSAT's restructuring. A number of U.S. firms (AT&T, Motorola, Lockheed-Martin
and GE Americom, among others) announced plans this year to launch geostationary
system which would provide greater competition to INTELSAT.
NTIA's research laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(ITS) in Boulder, Colorado, performs state-of-the-art telecommunications
research to support NTIA and Department of Commerce goals as well as specific
research under reimbursable agreements with other Federal agencies and
under cooperative research agreements with private sector partners. ITS
is an active contributor to many agency endeavors, including quality of
service issues, advanced television standards, Internet issues and roles,
ITS provided key technical contributions in 1996 to spectrum management
and policy issues and conducted research in support of U.S. industry and
government on advanced network performance standards (including Broadband
Integrated Services Digital Networks or B-ISDN), personal communications
services, broadband radio propagation analysis, Intelligent Transportation
Systems, the Global Positioning System, and audio and video quality assessment.
This work supports the Administration's goals of fostering the evolution
of the National Information Infrastructure (NII) and the Global Information
ITS continued to provide a leading role in domestic and international
telecommunications conferences to promote telecommunications standards
and spectrum measurement development. During 1996, ITS led the U.S. Delegation
to the International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunications Standardization
Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 13 (General Network Aspects) in Geneva. U. S.
contributions approved at this meeting included work on B-ISDN performance
(e.g. Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) cell transfer performance and frame
relay functions), internetworking among networks, and communications traffic
and congestion control. ITS also made major contributions to American National
Standards Institute(ANSI) accredited Standards Committee T-1 Telecommunications
on advanced audio and video quality-of-service performance assessment.
ITS led Federal efforts to produce a new Glossary of Telecommunications
Terms (Fed Std 1037C) and ITS staff developed a hypertext version of
the 5,800 entry glossary. It is available at <http://www.its.bldrdoc.gov/fs-1037>.
ITS also pursued cooperative research with private sector companies
under the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986, as amended, to promote
U.S. competitiveness and market opportunities for advanced telecommunications
products and services. During 1996, ITS worked with companies such as U
S West Advanced Technologies, Inc., the American Automobile Manufacturers
Association, AudioLogic, Inc., Integrator Corporation, and Industrial Technologies,
Inc., to undertake measurements and testing of new wireless communications,
such as personal communications services and local multipoint distribution
services, and advanced audio and video quality-of-service performance assessment.
NTIA GOLD AND SILVER MEDAL WINNERS
The ISAD Team was recognized with the Department's Gold Medal for significant
contributions in preparing for and in implementing U.S. objectives for
the Information Society and Development Ministerial Conference in South
Africa, May 13-15, 1996. Team members include Elizabeth Echols, Suzanne
Settle, Gregory Francis, David Gardner, Diane Steinour, Paige Darden, Roanne
Robinson, Tatia Williams, and Cathleen Wasilewski. Mr. William Gamble was
awarded the Gold Medal for his outstanding leadership in the development
of National spectrum policies to bring forth a consensus on diverse spectrum
issues while supporting the critical and essential missions of Federal
The Department's Silver Medal was awarded to Mr. Jeffrey Wepman who
was recognized for his outstanding contributions to Personal Communication
Services (PCS) and knowledge of the radio spectrum and wireless communications.
The Silver Medal was awarded also to Mr. Edward Davison in recognition
of his leadership in the coordination of national and international satellite
communication systems for the U.S. Government.
NTIA ON THE WORLD-WIDE WEB
To expand electronic access to public information, NTIA established
one of the first Federal government World-Wide Web (WWW) servers (http://www.ntia.doc.gov).
All of NTIA's publicly available documents are posted on this web site.
The following general principles guide NTIA's managers on electronic information
dissemination; these principles apply to all NTIA electronic information
dissemination efforts, regardless of specific form.
NTIA On-Line Information will be:
1. Designed for the external user; i.e., constituent ease of
use, interactivity, and usefulness of the information will be the overriding
2. Accurate, Timely, Complete, and Relevant.
3. Information should be available on-line no later than when it is
available in hard copy and preferably before the hard copy is available.
4. Limited to organizational and programmatic information.
NTIA's efforts to develop this site were recognized with Vice President
Gore's Hammer Award.
NTIA welcomes comments on its activities and programs. To offer suggestions
or obtain further information, please contact Sarah Maloney or Charles
Franz at 202-482-1835 or send e-mail to <firstname.lastname@example.org> or
Copies of documents cited in this report are for sale by the National
Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA (703) 487-4650.