NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION

ANNUAL REPORT

1996






Mission

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.



DOMESTIC POLICY

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.



Universal Service

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.



Auctions

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.



Children's Television

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.



Privacy

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 develop a balanced privacy policy -- one that preserves the individual's right to privacy while maintaining the free flow of information across national borders.



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 Program

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 arena.



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."

NetDay96 Initiative

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 U.S. standards.

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 and services.



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>.



Spectrum Fees

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.





TELECOMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH

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, etc.

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 Infrastructure (GII).

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>.

Industry Outreach

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 Agencies.

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:

NTIA's efforts to develop this site were recognized with Vice President Gore's Hammer Award.



COMMENTS

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 <smaloney@ntia.doc.gov> or <cfranz@ntia.doc.gov>.

Copies of documents cited in this report are for sale by the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA (703) 487-4650.