Economic Development:

U.S. Preparations for an International Conference on Broadcast Satellites

RCED-83-121: Published: Mar 4, 1983. Publicly Released: Mar 8, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the technical, diplomatic, and policy preparations taken by federal agencies for the Regional Administrative Radio Conference to be held in 1983. This conference will plan for multi-nation broadcasting satellite service implementation in the Western Hemisphere and will consider problems of sharing the its radio frequencies with existing communications satellite services.

GAO found that interagency committees have helped coordinate both policy and technical preparations for the conference, an initial steering group has been formed, and a senior-level interagency group will review the U.S. positions developed for the conference. A working group has discussed technical issues to be addressed at the conference and has formed a computer user group to help facilitate computer use at the conference and to keep agency representatives informed about individual agency preparatory activities. Individual federal agencies have been responsible for those items which affect them most directly. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has established an advisory committee which helped integrate private sector views on broadcasting satellite service into conference preparations. Action has yet to be taken on presidential approval of the delegation list. Each federal agency, for the most part, will fund conference activities related to its own responsibilities. However, agency officials feel that this makes overall planning difficult because no agency is sure whether it is responsible for funding given activities, and budget cuts have made planning for future conferences difficult. A multilateral seminar which might enhance both technical and interpersonal relationships is presently in doubt because of funding and scheduling difficulties, and a planned computer seminar has been delayed due to lack of software.

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