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PEACESAT: A Regional Telecommunications
Alliance in Transition


Okamura, N.(1994) PEACESAT: a Regional Telecommunications Alliance in Transition, Proceedings of the Pacific Telecommunications Conference '94.


This purposes of the paper were to define the requirements and preliminary design for a digital PEACESAT capability. The paper became the basis of a proposal by PEACESAT to undertake the development of the PEACESAT Services Improvement Plan. The proposal was supported by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in March 1994.

The paper is useful since it helps Users to understand some of the early thinking on issues and alternatives. The PEACESAT SIP is now called "Digital PEACESAT."


Table of Contents:

1. Abstract
2. Background
3. Optimizing Use of GOES-3 for the Short- and Intermediate-Terms
4. GOES-3 Services Improvement Plan
5. Implementation Phases
6. Implications
7. Summary
Endnotes

1. ABSTRACT

The Pan-Pacific Education and Communications Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) Program, sponsored by the U.S. Congress and the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), was re-established in 1989 through the use of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) GOES-3 satellite. Since its formal opening in 1992, the PEACESAT regional telecommunications alliance has grown to 36 sites in 25 countries.

The objectives of this paper are to provide a brief overview of the program, review some of its current challenges, and describe how the PEACESAT program is preparing to meet these challenges. The paper describes PEACESAT's plan to meet the needs of users in the short and intermediate-term. The plan calls for PEACESAT to optimize the use of the GOES-3 capacity by increasing the number of analog carriers, establishing a digital carrier network, applying technologies that optimize the use of full duplex channels for concurrent voice and data communication, and to establish multiple video teleconferencing channels. PEACESAT's plan will constitute a major transition of the telecommunications alliance.


2. BACKGROUND

The PEACESAT program was initiated in 1971 to experiment with distance learning, emergency information, and teleconferencing applications through the use of a single push-to-talk voice communication using the ATS-1 satellite by sites in the Pacific(1). In 1985, the PEACESAT program became temporarily limited when the ATS-1 satellite ran out of fuel and could no longer support the needs of its users(2). The program was re-established by United States Congress through the efforts of Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, NTIA, users, and the University of Hawaii(3). The missions, re-establishment, use, and potential of PEACESAT are discussed in several documents and reports and are not described in this paper(4).

The re-establishment was made possible through repositioning of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) geostationary weather satellite, GOES-3, in 1990. GOES-3 was one of a series of satellites used by NOAA for weather data gathering(5). Through the repositioning of the satellite, the GOES-3 footprint covers parts of the West Coast of the USA, most of the Pacific Rim, and all of the Western and South Pacific Islands countries.

Since the PEACESAT program was formally re-established in 1992, the growth of the network has been tremendous. As of November, 1993, 36 sites in 25 countries have acquired terminal equipment (antenna, power, transceivers) to access voice and data services throughout the Pacific. There are also 20 additional sites that have committed to come on-line in the Federal Fiscal Year 1993/1994 (October 1, 1993 to September 30, 1994)(6). In addition, more sites are considering becoming part of the PEACESAT network.

2.1 Challenges

The re-establishment of PEACESAT has occurred smoothly and the program is providing services as planned and designed. PEACESAT has also received enthusiastic support from its users in the Pacific.

At the same time that the re-establishment may be viewed as a success, PEACESAT faces several challenges. One challenge centers around how PEACESAT will meet the increased demands by users for more full-duplex data access, concurrent voice/data services, and video teleconferencing based educational services. A second challenge is how PEACESAT should maintain, strengthen, and extend services in the short- and intermediate-terms. A third challenge for PEACESAT is the selection of a long-term satellite solution that can support the needs of PEACESAT.

2.1.1 Level of Services and User Demands

One of the pressing challenges for PEACESAT is the level of services that are provided through the GOES-3 satellite system. Island governments, educational institutions, regional organizations, and other users have made their needs known to NTIA and PEACESAT. In the near term, PEACESAT users desire access to increased data channels and are requesting concurrent access to dedicated data channels. Some users also are requesting concurrent voice, data, and compressed digital video. Over the long-term, PEACESAT users desire high speed data networking and full-motion video.

2.1.2 Short and Intermediate-Term Solutions

Until a long-term solution is developed, there is a need to meet the needs of users during the short and intermediate terms. This challenge is directly addressed in this paper and may be achieved by optimizing the use of the existing GOES-3 satellite. This approach is consistent with NTIA's recommendation issued in a 1992 report which states that: "NTIA should work toward extending PEACESAT's use of the GOES series of satellites to provide more time to search for the long-term satellite configurations [to meet the needs of users]."(7)

2.1.3 Selection of a Satellite for Future Programming


The selection of a satellite to provide long-term services is important for two reasons. First, the agreement between NTIA and NOAA to use GOES-3 will end in 1995 even though there are indications that the agreement will be extended for the life of the satellite. Secondly, and just as important, the GOES-3 satellite will probably run out of fuel sometime around the Year 2000 and is expected to have problems in maintaining its geostationary orbit. Finally, there are inherent limitations in the capacity of the GOES system to meet the growing needs of its users.

In response to this challenge, NTIA and PEACESAT have initiated studies to define user needs and alternatives for providing a long-term satellite system for PEACESAT. The selection of an alternative satellite to deliver the services is critical to the long-term success of the PEACESAT program. The studies by NTIA and PEACESAT have been documented most recently in a December, 1992 report issued by NTIA entitled PEACESAT: Communications Satellite Services for the Pacific Islands: Satellite Feasibility Study(8). Although the report does not contain recommendations for a long-term solution, progress toward analyzing alternatives has been made.

2.2 NTIA and PEACESAT Assessments of User Needs

NTIA and PEACESAT have been continuously working toward identifying and defining the needs of users. This is always a critical but difficult task. Identifying requirements is important since they impact the definition of alternative solutions. At the same time, defining user requirements is difficult since users' needs are dynamic and change with experience, environmental factors including budgets, and developments in technology. The NTIA and PEACESAT reports describe some of the user requirements in the near- and long-term future (2007) and include:


Increased data circuits for Internet and other data driven information services;
Concurrent voice and multiple data access support;
Channels for sensitive voice and data communication;
64 Kbps transmission for higher speed data transfer;
Compressed video teleconferencing;
High Speed data communication; and,
Full motion video.


Based on the report and response from users, the long-term needs for improved communication services to the Pacific will require significant communication capability, and some requirements such as full-motion video may never be able to be delivered through a PEACESAT type program, with the exception, perhaps, of public broadcasting video. These general needs will be further studied to determine their relative importance.

In the short and intermediate-terms, it is clear that PEACESAT needs to provide concurrent voice and data services, and support concurrent data access services for information access.

Since introducing data services, the needs and demands for data access have grown steadily. The anticipation over the introduction of Internet services and other planned data-driven information programming (BBS) has been overwhelming. PEACESAT needs to improve access to the high-volume usage areas. It is hoped that these users will be able to access data-driven information services on an ongoing basis without operator assisted circuit switching that in itself does not optimize data transmission.

Any user of Internet or other on-line information services knows the problems of trying to schedule time for the use of such circuits. A reservation system may be initially acceptable, but it will not be acceptable for long, especially when the service is shared by 35 different sites. The contention for the use of the channel has already resulted in conflicts between and among voice and data users. The conflicts are expected to grow.

More and higher speed digital channels are also needed since compressed digital video transmission may be important to the overall development of the PEACESAT program given its current mission (e.g., telemedicine applications and distance education). It may become even more important as PEACESAT provides support for the promotion of regional economic development activities.

2.3 PEACESAT Program Priorities

PEACESAT, as with any other program, must, of course, prioritize where it will concentrate its resources. Any PEACESAT program activity must be guided by a set of priorities. NTIA suggests the following priority scheme for PEACESAT to use in its program planning:

  1. Maintain existing services;
  2. Strengthen existing services;
  3. Make existing services more widely available (both to current users and new users); and,
  4. Develop new services(9).

The priority scheme implies that PEACESAT plans to improve services in a way that maintains the existing services, strengthens them, and increases their availability to the Pacific Basin and Rim before introducing new services. The priorities are reasonable given limited budget and satellite resources.


3. OPTIMIZING USE OF GOES-3 FOR THE SHORT- AND INTERMEDIATE-TERMS

Until a long-term satellite solution is found to meet the needs of the Pacific Basin and Rim, GOES-3 could be used to provide improved voice, data, and compressed video service for the short- and intermediate- terms.

The PEACESAT/GOES-3 transponder operates in S and L Bands and has an 8 MHz bandwidth (2025-2033 MHz Transmit and 1683-1691 MHz Receive). The current voice and low-speed data carriers are 16 KHz and are spaced 50 KHz apart. A full-duplex channel uses two of these carriers.

The capacity of the GOES-3 transponder is not being fully utilized. There is additional carrier and bandwidth capacity that could potentially be used by PEACESAT to meet the needs of users in the short- and intermediate-term. There are also technologies that may be used to optimize the use of the carriers. The following is a brief discussion of how these opportunities could be realized by PEACESAT.

3.1 Increasing Number, Type, and Capacity of GOES-3 Carriers


PEACESAT could increase the number, type, and capacity of GOES-3 carriers.

3.1.1 Increase the Number of Analog Carriers


PEACESAT could increase services to meet the demands of users by increasing the number of analog carriers and to increase the accessibility to these carriers by remote sites.

The current design of the PEACESAT mesh network means that users can only transmit a single carrier that can support either a simplex voice or a full-duplex voice/low speed (9.6 Kbps) data link. The design allows Pacific Island and Rim sites to communicate with each other through 9 existing simplex carrier circuits and 3 full-duplex carrier circuits. The full-duplex carriers support low-speed (9.6 Kbps) data.

The design provides the benefits of inter-networking many different locations throughout the Pacific using a minimum number of carriers. The downside of the system is that: (1) the carriers only support a single use, (2) 35 PEACESAT sites must share only 3 full-duplex circuits, and (3) PEACESAT Headquarters (PHQ) currently only has 1 transceiver that can be used for data purposes. To improve access to more GOES-3 full-duplex carriers, PEACESAT could modify the terminals to access new analog transmit/receive carrier frequencies.

3.1.2 Increase the Number of Concurrent Carriers at PEACESAT Headquarters (PHQ)

Increasing the number of analog carriers that can be used by PEACESAT sites will not by itself resolve the problem of concurrent data access to PEACESAT Headquarters. The use of the current 3-Meter antenna and power amplifier inherently limits the number of carriers that can be handled by PHQ. These antennas and power amplifiers were designed to support a single analog carrier.

Since PHQ has two antennas, it can currently have two simultaneous sessions. However, if PHQ has a voice conference and data session established, it will not be able to provide any hub administrative services such as contacting users of impending meetings.

PEACESAT could increase the number of carriers that PHQ can receive and transmit to in order to provide concurrent access to multiple voice and data channels.

There are two alternatives by which this could be accomplished. First, PEACESAT could install a new terminal (antenna, power amplifier, indoor electronics) for each channel that PEACESAT wants to establish. This would create an antenna farm and is not very practical given the space and cost factors. Second, PEACESAT could upgrade the size of one of its existing antennas, purchase a new power amplifier, and install a rack mounted GOES-3 transceiver channel bank to save space and power. Increasing the size of the antenna, power amplifier, and installing a transceiver bank clearly appears the better solution when compared to installing an antenna farm.

3.1.3 Establish a Digital Carrier Network

Increasing the number of analog carriers and increasing the capability of PHQ to concurrently support multiple carriers will not solve the needs of certain sites to transmit voice and data simultaneously.

To resolve these problems, PEACESAT could establish a digital carrier network concurrent with the existing analog FM network to increase the capacity to support multiple voice, data, and compressed video channels by sites. By creating a digital carrier network, PEACESAT may be able to support the simultaneous transmission of voice, data, and possibly compressed video communication. Digital carriers are generally favored over analog FM modulation since it is more cost-effective in the use of satellite resources.

Naturally, there are limitations to the number and capacity of digital carriers that can be established. The limitations will depend largely on the power budget, bandwidth, capability of the satellite transponder, and potential impact on the analog carriers.

3.1.4 Compressed Video Mesh Network Carriers

Digital carriers capable of supporting 64+ Kbps could be established to support compressed digital video applications. It may be possible to design the use of the carrier capacity of the GOES-3 to support a single digital carrier with a data rate of up to 768 Kbps. The question is what data rates should PEACESAT support for compressed video teleconferencing given the other needs for voice/data.

3.1.5 Planning Model for PEACESAT

Table 1: Capacity Planning Model shows the number and capacity of various carriers that could potentially be established using the 8 MHz bandwidth of the GOES-3 satellite. The table presumes that there is about 1.5 Mbps of digital capacity available for use. This is equal to about 768 Kbps in full-duplex mode.


Table 1:  Capacity Planning Model
 ________________________________________________________________________
|Carrier Type		 |  Quantity					 |
|________________________|_______________________________________________|
|Analog FM		 |  Existing 9 Analog Simplex for Voice and	 | 
|			 |  3 Analog Full-Duplex for Voice/Data		 |                 
|Analog FM		 |  Potential New 10 Analog Simplex for Voice	 |              
|			 |  or 5 Analog Full Duplex for Voice/Data 	 |              
|Voice/Data Digital	 |  Potential New				 |
|RF			 |  8 to 16 -- 32 Kbps FD Channels		 |                			
|Digital Video		 |  Potential New				 |
|Digital RF		 |  2 -- 128+ Kbps FD Channels		 	 |
|________________________|_______________________________________________|

The planning model shows GOES-3 potentially supporting about 10 new analog FM carriers and 16 digital carriers with 32 Kbps capacity. The model also shows GOES-3 supporting 2 new digital carriers that have 64/128+ Kbps in carrier capacity for compressed video or higher speed data transfers. If these capacities can be realized, then, GOES-3 could potentially strengthen existing services and make them more widely available to meet the needs of the Pacific Islands and Rim. The extent to which GOES-3 can meet these needs will be subject to philosophy, technical system constraints, design, and costs.

Digital bandwidth tests on GOES-3 have been conducted by MAS with 64 Kbps channels. The success of the tests show that higher bandwidth carriers could be established and supported using the existing 3-Meter antennas and 50W power amplifiers(10). However, the planning model is theoretical and the real questions remain:

  • How many concurrent analog and digital carriers can be supported for enhanced services?
  • What digital data rates can the digital carriers support?
  • How can these carriers best be used?

3.2 Optimization of Carrier Capacity

Presuming that a digital carrier system can be established using the GOES-3 satellite, there are several technologies that could be used to optimize the voice, data, and compressed video communication over the digital carrier. The optimization may be realized by using voice compression, data concentrators, and a Digital Bandwidth Manager (DBM) that supports different digital transmission schemes such as circuit, packet, and frame relay over digital channel capacities less than 256 Kbps.

3.2.1 Voice Compression

Voice can be converted into digital data through pulse code modulation that can then be "compressed" through bit sampling algorithms. The "compressed voice" is then communicated as digital data streams from one site to another. When decompressed, the data is converted back into audio voice signals.

Today, some vendors have acceptable quality voice carried over a CELP bit sampling algorithm requiring 4.8 Kbps of transmission. By compressing the voice to lower bit rates, it is possible to carry more voice channels on a carrier. For example, a single full-duplex digital circuit capable of supporting 9.6 Kbps can provide 2 voice circuits at 4.8 Kbps, assuming that bandwidth is used for in-band signaling.

3.2.2 Data Concentration

The current use of a 9.6 data channel over a full-duplex analog carrier by a single user is not an efficient use of the GOES-3 resource. To make better use of the available bandwidth, data multiplexing technologies could be used to share resources among more users. X.25 packet data switching could be effectively deployed by PEACESAT to enable more users to share full-duplex data channels for access to on-line and Internet services.

Response time and throughput in an X.25 network is dependent on the number of concurrent users and best applied in an on-line data access environment where users interact with host system(s). X.25 is not optimized for bursty data and large data file transfers.

Response time should not be a problem for many PEACESAT Sites that are limited through the "land line" connections to lower speeds. Response time could become a problem for users with good telecommunication local land lines and are doing large data file transfers.

3.2.3 Voice and Data Multiplexing

Since both data and voice can be compressed as digital data, it is possible to use a single digital transmission carrier to carry multiple channels of digital voice and data traffic. The capacity of the transmission facility, level of voice and data compression, nature of application, and quality of voice acceptable will determine what the usefulness of a transmission facility for a particular application.

To optimize the use of a digital channel, PEACESAT could use a Digital Bandwidth Manager (DBM) to transmit simultaneously compressed voice and X.25 packet switched data. Using technologies that are commercially available, it is possible to share a 19.2 Kbps digital channel to support 2 voice (at 4.8 Kbps) and multiple data users concentrated through X.25 packet switch through a DBM.

This basic approach is well established through many different vendor technologies and allows further optimization of voice and data communication over scarce PEACESAT carrier resources. Some vendor systems can take multiple analog voice inputs, digitize the signals, and apply a compression algorithm for the voice and concentrate data transmissions. This enables, depending on the voice and data compression algorithm, the systems to transmit multiple concurrent voice sessions over a 14.4 Kbps and higher full-duplex channel.

These systems can further route the voice as circuit data and packetized X.25 data to the destination. The routing for data is dynamic. Depending on the capacity of the full-duplex channel and the level of technology that is deployed, the routing of the voice traffic can be done dynamically or through an external switch.

3.2.4 Video Compression and Higher- Speed Data Channels


Once a higher speed digital carrier is established, it can be used to support compressed video and higher speed data file transfer applications.

The DBM could also be used for routing of nx64 Kbps data. Support for fractional T-1 services is important for higher-speed data file transfers and for compressed video. The CCITT has developed standards for video transmissions based on "px64" digital data rates.

Sites that may have more than one location that need to be inter-networked for compressed video would be served best through a single communication technology that can redirect the signal to multiple interface channels. A PEACESAT Site, for example, might have a need to establish a video conference session with another local site through a microwave network as well as through the PEACESAT network. A DBM with the ability to route the px64 video codec traffic from one channel interface to another would be useful and minimize the amount of manual rewiring that may need to be undertaken.


4. GOES-3 SERVICES IMPROVEMENT PLAN

PEACESAT has proposed a GOES-3 Services Improvement Plan (SIP) to NTIA. The plan calls for PEACESAT to: (11)

  • Maintain 9 current carriers for command, voice mesh network and 3 full-duplex channels for data applications (The number of analog carriers may be reduced and replaced with mesh network digital data carriers);
  • Establish a digital network hub that can support concurrent voice and data uses between a minimum of 10 sites in the Pacific and PEACESAT Headquarters;
  • Introduce integrated voice, data, and 64+ Kbps digital bandwidth managers to optimize the voice, data, and compressed video communication uses enabled by the digital carriers;
  • Establish a voice bridge between mesh network and digital network carriers for voice communication; and,
  • Establish multiple digital carriers capable of supporting a minimum of 64 Kbps for compressed video applications.

From a program perspective, the PEACESAT design maintains existing services, strengthens existing services by improving their operation (e.g. concurrent voice/data and concurrent data access from sites), and makes the services more widely available to PEACESAT users by providing concurrent access to more users at sites. The design also enables more sites to become part of the mesh network may be Internetworked with other systems and networks through the Pacific Basin and Rim such as the Japanese ETS-V and the State of Hawaii's HAwaii Wide Area Integrated Information Access Network (HAWAIIAN).

From a technical perspective, the design is based on the strategy of supporting and enhancing the existing analog services network while taking advantage of the capacity of the GOES-3 satellite through establishing a digital data network with a hub at PHQ. The design also includes a capacity for new services such as compressed digital video teleconferencing in a cost-effective mesh network design.


5. IMPLEMENTATION PHASES

The overall project plan calls for PEACESAT, NTIA, AND MAS to:

  1. Develop the GOES-3 Services Improvement Plan
  2. Develop PEACESAT Partners and Participants
  3. Install an 8.5-Meter Antenna (Power amplifier, etc.) at PHQ
  4. Install a Transceiver Bank and Testing of 19.2 Kbps Analog or 32 Kbps Phased Shift Modems
  5. Operationalize Data Services
  6. Install a 6-Meter Dish at MAS
  7. Conduct Satellite Transmission Tests
  8. Install Digital Bandwidth Managers
  9. Conduct Voice, Data, and Compressed Video Tests
  10. Develop GOES-3 Services Deployment Plan (Including Frequency Allocation)
  11. Deploy the Network

The implementation of these tasks could be accomplished in three phases. Phase I would increase the number of full-duplex carriers that can be simultaneously received at the PEACESAT hub and for testing the capacity and the ability of the 19.2/32 Kbps full-duplex carriers to handle multiple channels of concurrent voice and data over limited bandwidth.

Phase II would focus on the experimentation and testing of the various transmission resources of GOES-3 and to test the ability of the terminals to support voice, data, and compressed digital video at various capacities.

Phase III would focus on the deployment of the services based on the results of Phase II.


6. IMPLICATIONS

There are several implications that will arise from the conceptual design of the GOES-3 SIP. These implications need to be considered in the final design and implementation of the plan.

6.1 User Groups

Establishing a digital or star network design to complement the existing PEACESAT mesh network will create two basic types of "users." One group of users will use the analog "mesh" network. A second group of users will be linked to the PHQ in a digital star or hub and spoke network. All sites using the digital services will have multiple concurrent voice and data services and be internetworked to the mesh users through bridging at PHQ.

The creation of different "user groups" may create an impression that there are different "classes" of users in PEACESAT. The concept of "classes" may be viewed from at least two perspectives. On the one hand, it could be viewed as detrimental to the concept of PEACESAT, which has historically stressed a system that provides the same capabilities equally to its user community. On the other hand, the plan may be viewed as a means of meeting the needs of different users. It should be understood that users will select which user group the site will participate in, constrained, of course, by the number and capacity of digital carriers that can be provided through GOES-3.

6.2 Cost of Network

There are cost implications of the proposed network for both the PHQ and user sites. PHQ would need to install a larger antenna and power amplifier, additional analog and digital transceivers and RF modems, a bridge to interface the analog and digital channels, and the additional networking capacity to access other systems and networks in Hawaii which users wish access to (e.g. UH libraries system). PEACESAT would also need personnel and space to support the technology upgrades.

PEACESAT sites, depending on the tests, will not need to upgrade their antennas or power amplifiers for single 32 or 64 Kbps channels. These sites would need to acquire a voice/data DBM and the additional peripherals to support multiple concurrent voice and data applications.

However, if a site requires use of higher-speed video channels beyond 64 Kbps or concurrent voice and data with a 64 Kbps video link, then, the site will incur additional costs. The major costs that will be incurred by a site will be for a larger antenna and power amplifier, and a voice bridge if one is not already present. There will also be costs for interfacing the systems to the local public service telephone network.

6.3 Technical

There are several technical issues that will need to be resolved. The major technical issue is the number of digital carriers and capacity that can be established without interrupting or degrading the mesh network analog carriers. Other issues include the design of the terminals to support two digital and one analog carriers, level of interference with analog FM carriers, how the mesh and star network voice services would be bridged through the network, and whether the DBMs will function the way it is currently projected over a satellite carrier. None of the issues are significant enough to invalidate the conceptual design of the GOES-3 SIP. The major technical concerns revolve around the ultimate capacity of the carriers and design alternatives.

These concerns will be addressed in the Phase III GOES-3 Services Deployment Plan that would be prepared at the conclusion of the tests conducted in Phase II.

The technical issue of how the "mesh network" user would interface to "digital" users is one issue that merits some discussion here since a major program objective is to enable sites to communicate with each other. PEACESAT would need to bridge the analog mesh network communication carrier channels with the digital voice carrier channel through either a voice bridge or voice switch that supports voice conferencing. The optimal solution will depend on PHQ's other local telephone, data, and video teleconferencing bridging requirements.

6.4 Operational Implications

There are operational implications that will also need to be considered by PEACESAT. From a systems point of view, some of the operational implications will include: network management functions; bridging mesh with star network voice; developing new scheduling systems for compressed video programming; bridging pass-through communication between Hawaii video conference and HITS studios to the network, and so on. There will be a measure of added complexity for the PHQ since the technology that is being implemented is far more complex than the technology being used today.


7. SUMMARY

The re-establishment of PEACESAT has been successful. However, there is a need to extend and strengthen services to the Pacific. The services requested by current PEACESAT users include more voice and data channels, concurrent voice and data communication, non-interrupted data services, higher bandwidth data, and compressed video. Most important of these services in the short-term is to provide concurrent voice and data access.

Although NTIA and PEACESAT are studying the long-term solution, there are short- and intermediate-term steps that could be taken to improve services. PEACESAT has developed a plan to provide more analog carriers, establish a digital carrier network using the additional bandwidth capacity, and optimize the use of the digital carriers through multiple access digital telecommunication technologies.

PEACESAT, NTIA, and Marine-Air Systems are currently evaluating this plan and may initiate trials to resolve outstanding technical questions. The major technical question is the number of carriers and the capacity of such carriers that can be created.

Should these tests be successful, PEACESAT will be able to develop and implement a service improvement plan to maintain, strengthen, and extend existing services, and experiment with the delivery of new services such as compressed video conferencing. Realization of such a plan will effectuate a major transition in the regional telecommunications alliance called PEACESAT.


ENDNOTES

This paper is based in part on a report prepared for the PEACESAT Program at the University of Hawaii by Norman Okamura entitled Preliminary Assessment and Conceptual Design for the Use of GOES-3 to Provide Improved Services to the Pacific.

The assistance and support of the personnel and consultants of PEACESAT Headquarters in the preparation of this paper must be acknowledged. This includes Lori Mukaida, Director, Christina Higa, Operations Manager, Thomas Okamura, Programming Manager, and Calvin Fujioka, Fiscal Specialist. I am particularly indebted to Calvin for checking figures out and to Thomas for all of the graphics. The paper has benefited substantially from the discussion and dialogue that has been conducted with PEACESAT during the past five months.

The contributions of Mr. Ray Jennings and Mr. Bill Cooperman of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, as well as Mr. Peter Williams and Mr. John Yaldwin of Marine-Air Systems must also be acknowledged since many of the ideas and issues discussed in this paper were developed as a direct result of issues raised and information provided by these organizations.

  1. The PEACESAT program was initiated in 1971 with a single voice channel on ATS-1. Cooperman, W., Mukaida, L., Topping, D. 1991. "The Return of PEACESAT". Proceeding: Pacific Telecommunications Conference. Honolulu, Hawaii.

  2. When the ATS-1 ran out of fuel in 1985, the PEACESAT program continued operations at the University of Hawaii using a high-frequency radio until Congress re-established the program.

  3. The PEACESAT Program was re-established through a Congressional appropriation to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in 1989. Funds are made available to the University of Hawaii for the PEACESAT program through a PEACESAT Re-Establishment Cooperative Agreement.

    Once the Congressional budget has been approved, PEACESAT will submit a proposed contract amendment to NTIA. As part of the proposed contract amendment, PEACESAT will be proposing ideas on how services may be improved in the Pacific through the use of the GOES-3 satellite system.

  4. See: Mukaida, L., Topping D. 1989. "Appropriate Technology: The PEACESAT Experiment". Proceeding: Pacific Telecommunications Conference. Honolulu, Hawaii;

    Proceeding: PEACESAT Policy Conference. 1992. Sendai, Japan. Mukaida, L. 1992.

    "PEACESAT Program Strategic Plan (Draft)", University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii.

  5. The GOES series of satellites was built by Ford and Hughes and are used to transmit satellite imagery for weather data gathering. The image camera and/or transmitter of the GOES-3 satellite became dysfunctional. GOES-7 also experiences the same problem and may be possibly used by PEACESAT for other purposes some time in the future.

  6. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to install 14 PEACESAT terminals in the Pacific during FY 93/94. FEMA became interested in PEACESAT as a result of its usefulness during Hurricane Iniki.

    In addition to the 14 FEMA sites, there are 6 other Pacific sites that are planning to install PEACESAT terminals.

  7. Cooperman, W., & Connors, D. PEACESAT: Communications Satellite Services for the Pacific Islands: Satellite Feasibility Study, (US Department of Commerce, National Telecommunication and Information Administration, December, 1992. P.2.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Cooperman, W. "Re: GOES Improvement Plan". Memo to: to Dr. Donald M. Topping, Principal Investigator, PEACESAT, 16 November 1993.

    The memorandum does not provide specific guidance regarding the priorities of the program but was intended to raise issues regarding the effort required to expand services through creating a digital carrier network for PEACESAT.

  10. There are several reports that describe the technical characteristics of GOES-3:

    Williams, P. & Yaldwyn, J. 1991. "Designing an Inexpensive and Innovative S-Band Earth Station Network: The Challenge". Proceeding: Pacific Telecommunications Conference. Honolulu, Hawaii.

    Leary, J. 1993. "Provision of PEACESAT Links Operating at 64 Kbps to 124 Kbps". MAS Technical Report. Wellington, New Zealand.

    Leary, J. 1993. "Satellite Downlink Level Variations of GOES-3". MAS Technical Report. Wellington, New Zealand.

  11. Okamura, Norman. 1993. "Preliminary Assessment and Conceptual Design for the Use of the GOES-3 to Provide Improvement Services in the Pacific". University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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