Coordination, Policy Development, and Implementation for International Telecommunications Facilities

Gao ID: 106775 August 16, 1978

Two recent GAO reports evaluated the coordination by agencies of decisionmaking responsibilities and their effectiveness in developing and implementing an international telecommunications facilities policy. Recommendations were made for specific agency actions, changes to the Communications Act of 1934 and Communications Satellite Act of 1962, and repeal of the Cable Landing License Act of 1921. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of State, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration had not effectively coordinated their responsibilities in developing policy. This problem could be resolved through a two-step approach: (1) procedures would be developed by FCC for coordinating agency views; and (2) procedures would be established to provide FCC with unified executive branch views. Other issues addressed were shortcomings in the FCC comprehensive plan for North Atlantic telecommunications facilities, the need for policy guidelines for international telecommunications facilities in other parts of the world, the need for providing instructions to the Communications Satellite Corporation, distinctions between decisions on international facilities and domestic facilities, and changes since enactment of the Cable Landing License Act of 1921. The proposed Communications Act of 1978 represents a constructive approach to some of these issues such as: planning for international facilities, coordinating the policymaking process, changing the method of authorizing international facilities, and providing the President with the responsibility for instructing the Communications Satellite Corporation in its role as representative in international satellite organizations.

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