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NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZATION, FISCAL YEARS
1990 AND 1991 1 AN ACT To authorize appropriations for activities of the National Telecommuni
cations and and Information Administration for Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is authorized to be appropriated for activities of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration $14,554,000 for fiscal year 1990 and $18,000,000 for fiscal year 1991, together with such sums as may be necessary for increases resulting from adjustments in salary, pay, retirement, other employee benefits required by law, and other nondiscretionary costs, for fiscal year 1991. SEC. 2. (a) The Congress finds that
(1) the Pacific Ocean region is of strategic and economic importance to the United States;
(2) other nations, especially Japan, are seeking to increase their influence in this region;
(3) because the Pacific Basin communities are geographically isolated and because many are relatively poor, they are in great need of quality, low-cost communications services to maintain contact among themselves and with other countries;
(4) from 1971 until 1985, such communications needs were satisfied by the Pan-Pacific Educational and Cultural Experiments by Satellite Program (hereinafter referred to as the "PEACESAT Program") operating over the ATS-1 satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
(5) the ATS-1 satellite ran out of station-keeping fuel in 1985 and has provided only intermittent service since then;
(6) the Act entitled “An Act to provide authorization of appropriations for activities of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration”, approved November 3, 1988 (Public Law 100–584; 102 Stat. 2970), authorized $3,400,000 in funding during fiscal years 1988 and 1989 for reestablishing the communications network of the PEACESAT Program;
(7) Congress appropriated $1,700,000 for fiscal year 1988 and $200,000 for fiscal year 1989 for the purposes of re-establishing the communications network of the PEACESAT Program;
(8) in fiscal years 1988 and 1989, significant progress was made to ensure resumption of this vital communications service by repairing earth terminals in the Pacific communities, by identifying the short-term and long-term needs of the residents of these communities, and by acquiring the use of the GOES3 satellite owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is expected to provide service from 1990 to 1994;
1 This Act is Public Law 101-555, Nov. 15, 1990 (104 Stat. 2758).
(9) because these activities exhausted the funds previously appropriated for the PEACESAT program, Congress authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 for fiscal year 1990 and such sums as necessary for fiscal year 1991 for use by the Secretary of Commerce in the negotiation for and acquisition of satellite capacity and equipment under subsection (c)(1) of this section and the management and operation of satellite communications services under subsection (c)(2) of this section;
(10) while no funds were appropriated for fiscal year 1990 because of the availability of carry-over funds, Congress appropriated $1,000,000 for fiscal year 1991 for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the GOES-3 satellite, for the
administration of the PEACESAT program, for the acquisition and installation of earth stations and the training of engineers to operate the Earth stations, and for the study of a long-term solution to the satellite needs of the PEACESAT program;
(11) with these funds, the PEACESAT program has been reestablished, over 20 new Earth terminals have been installed (some at the expense of the individual user groups), and the use of the PEACESAT network is expanding;
(12) while the PEACESAT program has now been reestablished, additional funding continues to be necessary for the ongoing administrative and operational expenses of the PEACESAT program and especially for the acquisition of satellite capacity after 1994;
(13) the importance of the PEACESAT program to the educational and cultural communications in the Pacific Ocean region makes it imperative that the Secretary of Commerce and the PEACESAT users explore every available option for longterm satellite capacity, including the possibility of using foreign-owned satellites or engaging in joint ventures with foreign entities to satisfy these long-term needs for transmission capacity; and
(14) whether or not a domestic or foreign-owned satellite is used for transmission, it is essential to the achievement of United States policy goals that the headquarters, management, and operation of the PEACESAT program be located and conducted in the United States.
(b) It is the purpose of this section to assist in the acquisition of satellite communications services until viable alternatives are available and to provide interim funding in order that the PEACESAT Program may again serve the educational, medical, and cultural needs of the Pacific Basin communities.
(c)(1) The Secretary of Commerce shall expeditiously negotiate for and acquire satellite space segment capacity and related ground segment equipment to provide communications services for former users of the ATS-1 satellite of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
(2)(A) The Secretary of Commerce shall provide to the manager of the PEACESAT Program such funds, from appropriations authorized under subsection (d) of this section, as the Secretary
considers necessary to manage the operation of the satellite communications services provided with the capacity and equipment acquired under this subsection.
(B) The recipient of funds under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall keep such records as may reasonably be necessary to enable the Secretary of Commerce to conduct an effective audit of such funds.
(C) The Secretary of Commerce and the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, shall have access for the purpose of audit and examination to any books, documents, papers, and records of such recipient that are pertinent to the funds received under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
(d) There are authorized to be appropriated $400,000 for fiscal year 1992 and $1,500,000 for fiscal year 1993 for use by the Secretary of Commerce in the negotiation for and acquisition of capacity and equipment under subsection (c)(1) of this section and the management of the operation of satellite communications services under subsection (c)(2) of this section. Sums appropriated pursuant to this subsection may be used by the Secretary of Commerce to cover administrative costs associated with the provisions of this section.
(e) The Secretary of Commerce shall consult with appropriate departments and agencies of the Federal Government, representatives of the PEACĒSAT Program, and other affected parties regarding the development of a long-term solution to the communications needs of the Pacific Ocean region. Within one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce shall report to the Congress regarding such consultation.
SEC. 3. (a) It is the purpose of this section to improve the ability of rural health providers to use communications to obtain health information and to consult with others concerning the delivery of patient care. Such enhanced communications ability may assist in
(1) improving and extending the training of rural health professionals; and
(2) improving the continuity of patient care in rural areas. (b) The Secretary of Commerce, in conjunction with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish an advisory panel (hereafter in this section referred to as the "Panel") to develop recommendations for the improvement of rural health care through the collection of information needed by providers and the improvement in the use of communications to disseminate such information.
(c) The Panel shall be composed of individuals from organizations with rural constituencies and practitioners from health care disciplines, representatives of the National Library of Medicine, and representatives of different health professions schools, including nurse practitioners.
(d) The Panel may select consultants to provide advice to the Panel regarding the types of information that rural health care practitioners need, the procedures to gather and disseminate such information, and the types of communications equipment and training needed by rural health care practitioners to obtain access to such information.
(e) Not later than 1 year after the Panel is established under subsection (b), the Secretary of Commerce shall prepare and submit, to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Labor and Human Resources of the Senate and to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, a report summarizing the recommendations made by the Panel under subsection (b).
(f) There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce to carry out this section $1,000,000 to remain available until expended.
(Sec. 4 contained amendments to section 226 of the Communication Act of 1934.)