Space Communications

September 27, 1961

Report Outline
Case for Space Communications System
Development of Overseas Communications
Control of Space Communications Network
Special Focus

Case for Space Communications System

Overloading of Overseas Telephone Facilities

American-made satellites, able to relay voice messages to any point on earth, may link the nations of the world in a space communications network within a decade. Scarcely more than a dream five years ago, communications satellites now are not only feasible but also urgently needed. If overseas telephone calls continue to increase at the current rate of 20 per cent a year, existing cable and radiotelephone facilities will be seriously overloaded by 1965 if not sooner. Extension of these facilities, it is argued, would be more costly and time-consuming than establishment of a satellite communications system. Such a system, moreover, would make possible world-wide television broadcasts.

A committee composed of representatives of 10 international communications carriers already is drafting plans for a commercial satellite network. Formed on July 25 at the urging of the Federal Communications Commission, the committee was asked to submit recommendations to the F.C.C. by Oct. 13. President Kennedy had announced, July 24, that the administration favored private ownership and operation of the U.S. portion of a space communications system, provided certain policy stipulations were met.

A commercial satellite network, the President said, should be in operation “at the earliest practicable date” and should supply global service, extending even to areas where coverage might not be profitable. He specified also that provision should be made for foreign participation in the undertaking. Non-discriminatory use and equitable access “by present and future authorized carriers,” effective competition in the purchase of equipment, “maximum possible competition” among participating carriers, and “full compliance with antitrust legislation” must be assured. And the enterprise must provide economical service “the benefits of which will be reflected in overseas communications rates.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 02, 2019  The 5G Revolution
Oct. 12, 2012  Social Media and Politics
Mar. 16, 2001  Cell Phone Safety
Apr. 23, 1999  The Future of Telecommunications
Dec. 04, 1987  Broadcasting Deregulation
Dec. 16, 1983  Breaking Up AT&T
Feb. 04, 1983  Telecommunications in the Eighties
Sep. 27, 1961  Space Communications
Feb. 16, 1949  Telephone Monopoly
Mar. 23, 1944  Freedom of Communications
Feb. 15, 1930  Communications: Unification and Regulation
Space Sciences and Exploration
Telecommunications and Wireless Technologies