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far from being in jeopardy, is remarkable for the far-out examples that keep cropping up in the press, television, films, dress and everyday behavior.
But just because the fight isn't about what the protagonists say it's about doesn't mean that the fight isn't serious. In fact, the fight is important in the way that television is important.
Television is a negligible influence in determining opinion on particular issues or candidates. It is important as a social force, shaping life in the almost unconscious way that the automobile has shaped life over the past half-century. Much as the automobile yielded on unforseen pattern of life now known as suburbia as its end product, so television will probably produce patterns of life not yet visible. But already some of the social impact of television is evident.
The self-indulgent instinct, for one thing, is powerfully advanced by TV. The best and fanciest of the world's goods are projected into every home. Those who don't have are stimulated in the strongest way to go out and get theirs by acts of self-assertion.
Cynicism about authority is strongly promoted. Important world figures, traditionally magnified by remoteness, appear on the screen in the living room and are casually discussed as familiars. Mere children, exposed to rampant selling techniques, develop a precocious sophistication about being taken in.
Commitment, and indeed attention, are eroded by television. Viewers are spared the task of buying a book or going to see a concert. They can switch from channel to channel. It says a great deal that the current expression for alienation is a TV metaphor-"turned off."
Another social consequence of television is the widening of protest beyond politics and economics to a cultural dimension. Since TV markets a prevailing ethos, those who would promote change feel first obliged to fight the ethos. Thus black leaders feel required to come on as militants, not the polite, smiling Negroes who normally appear on TV dramas. Woman's libers affect the Cult of Ugliness to offset the chic, smiling ladies of the TV screens.
In these conditions, the decentralization of TV power advocated by the White House seems to me the very opposite of wisdom. Giving more weight to the local community is establishing over television a kind of vigilante authority by regional and ethnic groups, full of their own self-importance and with little respect for national values.
The networks have national sensitivities at least dimly in mind. Their evening news shows bespeak a high professional quality. Thus the case for Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor and Harry Reasoner is not the First Amendment. It is that, in a divisive time, they express values that make it easier for us to live with ourselves.
MATERIAL FURNISHED THE COMMITTEE BY THE OFFICE OF
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OFFICE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS OBJECTIVES AND POLICY-INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS BACKGROUND
The United States international communications industry consists of the international facilities and operations of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T); the Communications Satellite Corporation (Comsat); three major "record" carriers (ITT Worldcom, RCA Globcom, and Western Union International); and several other carriers serving limited geographic areas and paticular consumer needs.
AT&T, in cooperation with foreign entities, provides end-to-end switched telephone service between U.S. customers and their counterparts in other countries. AT&T builds and operates its own transoceanic cable transmission facilities, shares in the ownership and operation of U.S. satellite earth stations, and leases satellite circuits from Comsat.
Comsat is a private corporation chartered by the Congress in 1962 to develop a commercial communication satellite system capable of serving international transmission needs. Comsat is, by FCC order, a wholesaler of satellite transmission capacity, serving only as a "carrier's carrier" for AT&T and the record carriers. It is the designated U.S. partner in, and the contractual manager of, INTELSAT, which is an international consortium of communications entities owning and operating the only international commercial satellite communications system.
The three principal record carriers (ITT, RCA, WUI), in conjunction with Western Union (domestic), AT&T, and foreign communications carriers, provide end-to-end telegraph, telex, data, and alternate voice-data services to all foreign locations. The record carriers in effect "own" circuits in transoceanic cables in partnership with AT&T and foreign entities, and lease satellite circuits from Comsat.
This industry structure has worked relatively well over the years in providing service to consumers, in spite of its complexity, encouraging technological innovation, and serving U.S. interests in relation to foreign governments.
Rapidly evolving communications technologies over and under the oceans of the world are proving to be essential tools for building the emerging global structure of peace. By significantly improving man's ability to communicate instantaneously over great distances, international radio services, submarine cables, and communications satellites are essential factors in the evolution of an increasingly interdependent world community.
The global communications network also has become an economic necessity. Reliable, versatile, low-cost communications promote growth in all areas of international trade and commerce. Expanding investment in international communication facilities attests to the increasing significance of communications in the growth of the world economy.
Radio systems, submarine cables, and satellites are combined to provide all the nations of the world with a reliable and economic international communications systems. Since overseas radio-telephone services were inaugurated in 1927, new technologies and a variety of services have succeeded in answering increasing user demands while the costs of these services have decreased dramatically. In 1927, placing a call across the Atlantic often involved long delays, and when the connections were made, meteorological conditions frequently disrupted the conversation. Today, an international call can be directly dialed across land masses and oceans with high reliability and quality via computer-selected satellite or cable circuits.
Projections of future international communications testify to the continuation of rapid growth. Today, there are more than 290 million telephones in the world. and 18 million or more are being added annually. Within this decade, new (127)
satellites and submarine cables will multiply the existing capabilities of international communications systems fivefold or more, involving an investment of perhaps a billion dollars or more.
Because international communication circuits have foreign as well as domestic terminals, decisions to establish new facilities cannot be arrived at unilaterally. Commercial and governmental negotiations with foreign partners must be entered into and mutually satisfactory arrangements concluded in order to expand facilities and services. Communications entities in virtually every other country are owned and operated by the national government. These entities are aware of and responsive to government interests and are immediately assisted in their international negotiations by the foreign policy activities of their governments. This complete integration of foreign commercial and governmental interests trends to place U.S. commercial entities at some disadvantage in negotiations with foreign entities.
Until recently, communications agreements between foreign communications administrations and private U.S. entities were negotiated on a bilateral basis. Increasingly, however, these agreements are enterd into on a multilateral basis. There is no impropriety in such concerted action, and we must expect foreign governments to make whatever legitimate arrangements they feel best further their own interests. At the same time, it is vital that U.S. entities be able to participate with foreign entities in a way that protects not only their private commercial interests, but also the interests of the American people. The U.S. Government has an important role in this regard in cooperating with U.S. carriers and negotiating with the foreign entities and their governments.
The current structure of the U.S. international communications industry has evolved within the framework of various statutory and regulatory policies. Those policies and that structure have provided an environment in which the United States has taken the lead in communications technology. And the application of that technology has resulted in a variety of communications services unsurpassed in quality and availability. Other nations entering this field are developing increasingly competitive communications technology and services. In order to assure its continued leadership, the United States must facilitate the expansion of its communications industry and international communications facilities.
In spite of our leadership role, problems have been evident to those who examined the international communications industry regulation and structure in the past. There have been Presidential and other studies, beginning as early as 1950 with the Stewart Report. In 1959, Congressional inquiries examined potential means of restructuring the international industry, but no action resulted. In 1962, the Communications Satellite Act was passed to provide a place for satellite technology in the industry and regulatory structure. In 1965-66, an interagency task force recommended changes. In 1968, the Rostow Task Force proposed major restructuring, including putting all U.S. overseas transmission under consolidated ownership, but no implementation followed. Cable and satellites are the dominant, although not exclusive, modes for international communications transmission. Under current U.S. regulatory practices, authorized common carriers are limited to facilities investments and ownership in one or the other of these two transmission modes. Customer services and rates are determined in part by these arbitrary restraints on international transmission facilities ownership and the concommitant regulatory control of traffic distribution. This is compounded by the current regulatory practice of allowing carriers to earn profits only on the facilities they own.
The rapid technological advances, the growth of communication traffic, and the expansion of communication facilities that lie ahead are clearly consistent with U.S. interests and long-range goals and must be supported and encouraged. Our response to this challenge, however, cannot be as ad hoc as has been the case in the past. Changes in regulation and industry structure may become necessary in the future, as has been suggested in the past. This can be achieved constructively and responsibly, however, only if we have a clear recognition of our objectives and the policy framework within which the United States Government and the communications industry are to interact and participate in the world of international communications.
OBJECTIVES AND POLICY
United States activities involving international communications for the 1970's should reflect the following objectives:
Foster the continued development of reliable, low-cost, widespread international communications services, taking full advantage of new technology and conserving use of the limited electromagnetic spectrum.
Ensure that participation by the United States in international commercial communications will be through the private sector.
Limit United States Government ownership of communications facilities to those instances in which the required services cannot be obtained satisfactorily or at reasonable cost from the private sector.
Promote constructive relationships between the United States international communications industry and foreign entities.
Secure fair international trade opportunities for United States technology and products to enhance our competitive position in the world communications market and obtain the benefits of our technological leadership.
Ensure effective participation in the continued development of the INTELSAT global communications satellite system, as well as appropriate national, specialized, or other satellite systems.
Facilitate the availability of communication links among all nations of the world.
In furthering these objectives, the policy proposals described below are intended to serve as guidelines for future Government oversight of the United States international communications industry. Broadly stated, our policy should be to create conditions that will allow sample competition among United States international communications entities, reduce the need for detailed regulatory intervention in industry decisionmaking, simplify relationships with foreign entities, and promote U.S. national interests. Our specific proposals are as follows: 1. There should be no forced merger of international record carriers or of international transmission facilities.
2. Federal regulation of carriers owning international transmission facilities should encourage efficient utilization of both cable and satellite technology without heavily detailed intrusion into the investment and operating decisions of the carriers.
3. International communications services other than public telephone service (e.g., record and specialized services) should be provided on a competitive basis with only such regulatory oversight as is necessary to protect from potentially anti-competitive practices.
4. The Communications Satellite Act of 1962 should be reviewed to determine what changes are needed to reflect the permanent INTELSAT agreements, the maturity of Comsat as a commercial common carrier, and the emergence of new satellite systems.
5. There should be a thorough review of the existing authority and procedures of the Executive Branch for exercising its responsibility for cable landing licenses and satellite approvals, in order to permit international common carriers to do the advance planning and make necessary commitments with their foreign partners with some assurance of Federal agreement and to reduce friction in governmental relations with foreign nations on these matters.
This is a policy that should be applied prospectively and implemented in carefully considered steps over a period of time. The Executive Branch is preparing now to begin detailed discussions on each aspect of the policy recommendations with the FCC and the industry, with a view toward recommending whatever legislative or other actions may be appropriate or necessary in the future.
NOVEMBER 24, 1971.
Hon. CLAY T. WHITEHEAD,
Director, Office of Telecommunications Policy,
Executive Office of the President
DEAR MR. WHITEHEAD: This is in response to your October 29, 1971 request for our opinion concerning Comsat's right to exclusive ownership and operation of a new communications satellite system designed to improve international air traffic control.
In an October 15, 1971, letter to your General Counsel, we outlined several legal arguments to support the position of your Office that neither the Communications Satellite Act of 1962 nor the various INTELSAT agreements entitled Comsat to exclusive ownership and operation of the proposed system. Because of the limited time then available and because we were not appraised of Comsat's competing arguments, however, we were reluctant to conclude that those arguments conclusively permitted the new system to be adopted independently of Comsat. Although we have still not been given Comsat's legal position, we feel after further reflection and research that the arguments in our earlier letter are sufficiently meritorious to preclude substantial legal doubts as to the soundness of the proposed system.
Hon. ANTONIN SCALIA,
Office of Telecommunications Policy,
DEAR MR. SCALIA: This is in response to your October 1, 1971, request for our views as to whether any entity other than the Communications Satellite Corporation (Comsat) can lawfully own and operate a new communications satellite system designed to improve international air traffic control. An Administration policy apparently calls for the new system to be developed and owned by the private sector. In addition to air traffic control the new system may serve other functions such as maritime navigation services and services to permit passengers on aircraft and ships to place and receive telephone calls in transit.
Your letter mentions that the Communications Satellite Act of 1962 and various agreements entered into by the United States as a participant in the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (INTELSAT) have been cited as forbidding control of the proposed system by any entity other than Comsat.
Since we have not been informed of the legal arguments upon which it is asserted that Comsat has been given a monopoly to operate all new satellite communications systems, including the proposed one, we are hesitant to conclude that that position is wholly untenable. In the limited time available we have developed significant arguments against the position. These are set forth in the sections which follow.
I. COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE ACT OF 1962
Title III of the Communications Satellite Act of 1967, 47 U.S.C. §§ 701-44 (1970), establishes Comsat as a single entity to own and operate the communications system envisioned by the Act. Two provisions of the Act clearly indicate that Congress foresaw the eventual creation of additional satellite systems at some future time, but no express provision vests Comsat with the authority to own and control these new systems. Indeed, the Act and its legislative history infer that the creation of another entity is not precluded by the Act.