In many discussions of communications technology, policy, and business, satellite communications is an afterthought. But since the "open skies" policies spearheaded by the Office of Telecommunications Policy's Tom Whitehead and introduced by the FCC in the early 1970s, satellite communications has fundamentally changed all segments of the telecommunications industry - video, voice, and data communications. In the case of video communications, the advent of competitive satellite services fueled the growth of cable networks like HBO and TBS. In the case of voice communications, satellite technology challenged AT&T's long lines - and undersea cable - as the dominant mode of reaching distant locales. More recently, satellite communications, in the form of Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), challenged the dominant cable industry, deploying an all-digital system before the cable companies did. Finally, satellite communications is providing broadband Internet access to millions of subscribers around the world.
This conference will address the changing face of satellite communications, evaluating its overall impact, and placing it into context. To do so, it will bring together a range of leading policymakers, policy practitioners, and industry leaders, evaluating the international and domestic trends in satellite communications, with particular attention to its role in broadband communications.
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