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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 11, 1976)
rr.crr, cctcber 11,1973
Satellite to provide cheep, across-country phone call
Ey Dca Vcs!sy
The day isn't too far away when tefcphone, telegraph,
television, data transnirsaon, radio and other electronic
lerricc are fcroeght to us via ctelite. If fully and pro
perly developed, the synchronous communications
satellite w3 provide a fast, relet le, inexpensive means
of Jong-distance communications.
. However, there are serious doubts that satellite tech
nology wi3 be fully and properly developed. To under
stand those doubts one needs to take a took at the brief
history of communications satellites. Arthur C. Clarke,
British sdence-fictbn writer, prophesrzed in 1945 that
one day satellites launched into a synchronous earth
orbit at 22,303 miles above the earth would act as relay
stations bringing telephone, telegraph, and television
communication to the world. Eighteen years later, in
1963, Clarke proved correct when SYNCOM I was launch
ed by the United States into synchronous orbit. SYNCGM
II and III provided noise-free, wireless communications
across oveans, deserts and mountains.
CCI3AT created -
About this same time the Communications Satellite
Corporation (CO'.!SAT) was created after the passage of
the Communications Satellite Act of 1962. COMSAT was
to develop an international, commercial, communications
satellite system. The corporation was a most convenient
mmtege between government and industry and its crea
tion was hotly debated. A Senate minority report oppos
ing the formation of COMSAT stated that the issue was
"Government ownership of a tax-financed resource, with
operation for the benefit of all the American people, or
ownership by a government-created private monopoly."
The communications satellite is a product of tax
payers $S0 billion investment in the space program.
But when a decision must be made as to who benefits
from that investment, private interests consistently pre
vail over the public interest.
Following the creation of COMSAT (which then form
ed INTELSAT, a profit-making international telecom
munications satellite network which includes 91 nations
as members) in 1965 the FCC received a proposal from
the American Broadcasting Corporation (ACQ and
Hughes Aircraft Company (which was hired by the US.
military in 1960 to engineer and construct communica
tions satellites) to use satellites to distribute AEC-produc-ed
prograrmning to all of the network's radio and tele
vision affiliates. This proposal touched off further pro
longed debate concerning how communications satellite
systems should be developed.
The Nixon administration proposed a sohrtion-a
policy of naholis-barred, free competition in space.
Finally, on June 16, 1972, that Yhite House position
became national policy, or rather, national non-policy.
The muscle of the marketplace would rule, the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) would not regulate
the technology, and the public interest was all but for
gotten. Since 1972 several commercial domestic satellite sys
tems have been developed in the US. There are plans to
launch up to nine satellites and to build 410 earth stations
to send and receive communications. Various commercial
interests have a part in this development, which is, given
an estimated total investment cost of $818 million.
Technical advances of recent years will drastically
reduce satellite hardware and operating costs.,
' The Japanese have engineered a prototype satellite
receiver costing only $1 ,500 to build which can be attach
ed to television sets. It is anticipated that, when mass
produced, these receivers will cost only $100. Traditional
Earth stations cost between SlOOjDOO and $500,000.
- Canada movisg ahead . .
The Canadian government has notified the Internation
al Frequency Regulation Board (the agency which coor
dinates the use of the radio spectrum worldwide) that it
intends to inaugurate a direct-to-home television system
serving 5C0JCQO homes by 1980.
llske no mistake about it, the battle to control satellite
technology is political. It is a battle between vested,
special interests and the general, public interest. The
former is well organized, the latter is not.
"American Telephone and Telegraph's telephone mono
poly is seriously threatened by satellite technology.
Satellites don't need miles of wire, cabls or poles. Sate
llites don't need Bell Telephone's multi-blUk n dollar in
vestment in long-lines technology to transmit long-distance
'telephone messages. In fact the term "long-distance"
srould no longer be significant.
From the satellite's heavenly perch, cost will no longer
be a function of distance. It would cost no more to call
'New York from Lincoln than it would to call Omaha from
Lincoln. Satellite manufacturers have said a telephone call
from New York to Los Angeles could cost a dime.
Of course, telephone cotrpanies oppose further deve
lopment of staeHIte communications systems.
Broadcasters particularly fear what direct satellite-to-home
broadcasting could -do. Satellites, with greater
channel capacity, could loosen the commercial networks
strangle-hold on television. Satellite technology may be
able to do the job that cable television, despite its carry
fanfare, has failed to do. " '
Cable television was to open television to a wide var
iety of educational, entertaining and informative program
ming. This hasn't really happened due to cable televis
ion's capitaJ-istensive nature.
Satellites should prove to be much less costly. Satellite
technology wO not only permit additional broadcast
channels into the home, but it also could spawn the
creation of new regional and national television networks.
So, American broadcasters and common carriers have
taken steps to thwart satellite development. Satellite
technology poses a serious threat to their massive invest
ment in older technologies and their control of larte.mass
I cannot understate the critical questions we must
answer concerning communication.
The next three years will be cruciaL The FCC has con
vened the Joint IndustryGovernment Committee to com
pile data about all project uses of high-powered satellites
through the year 2000. The ccmnittee findings will form
the basis of US. policy at the Geneva World Administra
tion Radio Conference in 1977 and 1979. Decisions at the
conference will set the ground rules for all satellite deve
lopment until the end of the century.
In America rzz are fortunate that the Public Interest
Satellite Association (PISA) has been created to influence
satellite policy and technology- m the public interest.
PISA's ultimate objective is to work toward the creation
of a non-profit, public interest communications satellite
system in the United States.
1 MJ m itjmmm
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J U-LEkJL, I
1 11 II I i
"T lil'Mlii Til
Comp!3te tha course woric NOW In October,
ncdmplstes will ba given sparingly.
If you have any questions, contact your instructor.
r.EETIiiGSandcr EXAf.!3 rs scheduled for
thssa courses: '
American Studies 322-Country2uesrass LJusic - flat
instructor - Rcsr nsbch (3320 Andrews ISaS)
ALL 5TUD2MTS - Uaeting October 7th st 73pjn.
" in Room 113 Burnett : m
r?y tC3e-Ctcsacsl lth - T. Rtnfeevtch C223 Aasirensl
Exam - mzS. Oct. 133t at 23 pjn. in And. R?J 23
Ccon SC7c Ptia. Irs. - G. Rci (22 CSAl Exam: Tnurs.
Oct. Tth st 3:03 p jn. in CSA
Engl 2S3Ae-S&csre -1&. ISsrtus t223 And) Exam: Sst.
Oct. Cth-133 ajn. to 12 noon in Aft&vtK3 123
Lbd. Larg. S23-tjovcs Harman Hssa - tsrk Cory tit 23
CJit a Exsm: Oct. Cth.V.'&Lst 3.S pan. in CH Hil
Psych 2T7c-Pch. of Pertonality - R. Dtcnctr t213 Cyra)
Cs C-ccBK&sn: Thurs. Oct. ICth at 3:23 pjra. in
Cum HTJ 223. Test: Tue. Oct. 2CS at 33 pjn. kt
- ' Cum HIJ 223
Ifch ISth 212-Prin. Comimmitv rEth.-FL.2an (123C31
CtJ Cea Dtactton: Tues. Oct. 12 at 43 p-ra.
m 1 b&3. fJ lia Exam: Tuas. Oct. 13th at 453
pjn.in31t3.F.I11S v -
Sac 217c-Jnorfty Rstions - J. Ccynan (73 CiJI
Exsm: Tim. Oct. 12th at 333 pjn. in dill RSJ
Sac 242c-lbin Soc - J. SSrron 0 CSdM) Exam:Tues.
Oct. 12th at 3:33 pjn. in GSdH PJ 223
For ths fcllovirrj cctarsss. students villi csntict ths intmcter for a ccrtfsrsrics
or tT2 vvcrk shculd hsva been ccrnpbtsd on tha s&sdula sst lost sprtm,
History 1C2c-Bem Tradition rr Crisis - L. Csack (C37
Arch 322c Csxican Arch. -Ted Ertl (327 Arch UslU
Clot 225c-Evcl. of CioL - John LbOendan (42S CdJI)
Econ 333c Intro. Uoney E. HauaMa&J (233 CCAl
Econ 2Sc-Cm, Econ. Sys. - J. Pttr (323 C2A Comptetad
Engl 2Xc CtC)-ri?vt & Short Story - J. Reverts (213
- , And Conference "
Ens 2wc C22MI & Short Story a T&siS (313 And!
Enj2Xe (210-rwcl 1223 to Present - W. IJssJsKtbr
- (313 An) Contarence - - -
En 2S d2C3-fiawel 1223 to Ptesnt - O.GrtS3ry (lO
Cfisl 245c AfronAmaricea Lit. - C Fontenot (2S3 And)
FGH 2C2c CtCi-Fcsd mloryC.ICka(31SF&Ki
F ft M 322c CO-FooJ Ativca F. Ctpartao (21 4 F ft
Hi Confsrence .
F ft N 51cC21c-t:Uyy of Kubttion C Kin (31S F ft fi)
Ustory 427dC27c-Europe Soc ft Cutt. History L. Caacfc.
(237 Cit) Oonfiarence
Journ S2c-tssuts ki Croatfcasting - P. Uayeux (2S4 Avtt)
lisch 2ZI tC31c Geom. for Dam. Tchr. - tStntSia (315
OSdUl Conktad '
PhiSoa 222: (2t2)-Ct23rcn Lcsc E. Carpenter (1243
Fhtfoa 222s t222)-Gern. Eatsem&ky E. Car cental (1243
Fh2os 322c (232)-f2os ef S&cssts S. Hacarrf (1241
Fhloa 322 (2)-Canc?t of Feminity Hocisnd (1241
Fhysks 122s-fs of Physics - E. Zimmerman (223 CsU
Pol Sci 322c (31C)-Ptts. Ptonv Cony. -J. Comer (323 CilU
Pol Sci 322c (2221-Pc;tkal Vtotence W. Aery (227 GZV.i
Forestry 241c-Tite Resources - n. Ety (137 Pi) Con- Psvch 222c-Psych. Soc Cha J. Carman (2243 Bum)
511 abrESitE Hz
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