F. C. C. Docket No. 16258
Bell Exhibit 21
May 31, 1966
My name is William 0. Baker. I am Vice President-Research at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated.
I have been awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Science by Washington College (1935) and Ph.D. by Princeton (1938). 1 have also received the following honorary degrees: Sc.D., Washington College (1957); D.Eng., Stevens Institute of Technology; Sc.D. 7 Georgetown University (1962); Sc.D. University of Pittsburgh (1963); Sc.D., Seton Hall University (1965); and D.Laws, University of Glasgow (1965).
I am a member of the National Science Board of the National Science Foundation; I am a consultant in the Department of Defense and a member of the Science Advisory Committee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, DOD; and a member of the Committee on Science and Technology of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
I am a past member of the President's Science Advisory Committee, consultant to the Special Assistant for Science and Technology, member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and member of the Air Force Systems Command Board of Visitors. I am a member of the Liaison Committee for Science and Technology of the Library of Congress.
I am a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Directors of Industrial Research, Industrial Research Institute and Board of Governors of Scientific Research Society of America. I am a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member and past councilor of the American Chemical Society, and a member of the American Philosophical Society. I serve on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Polymer Science.
I am a trustee and corporate member of Mellon Institute, trustee of Rockefeller University, Princeton University, Aerospace Corporation, and the Old Dominion Foundation, member of the Board of Visitors of the Board of Administrators of Tulane University, and member of the Board of Directors of Babcock and Wilcox Company and the Summit and Elizabeth Trust Company.
In 1958 1 held the National Institutes of Health Lectureship. In 1962 1 was awarded the American Institute of Chemists Honor Scroll. In 1963 1 received the Perkin Medal of the Society of Chemical Industry. I received the Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society in March 1966.
Mr. Gilmer's testimony explains the fundamental Bell System objectiveto be ready, willing and able to respond to the communications needs of the nation. He emphasized that this objective has presented and will continue to present very difficult problems and challenges. My testimony will discuss the manner in which we have developed our complex and efficient communications network to meet those needs and what we must do to meet the future demands which will be made upon this network as a result of advancing technology and emerging consumer needs. I will present in particular the following points:
1. The Bell System has consistently devoted great effort to the discovery and efficient implementation of technological advances. Our research and development efforts have provided a sophisticated, reliable communications network, as well as many benefits for other industries.
2. In the coming years, we must be prepared to anticipate and meet customers' needs for communications facilities of ever-increasing quality and quantity. Meeting those needs to the best of our abilities enables us to continue our vitality as a modern communications enterprise and to provide the benefits of the latest technological advances to the users of our services.
3. To satisfy these customer needs requires a maximum effort on the part of the Bell System from all available resources, with commitment of large amounts of capital and an unavoidable element of risk. I believe that the benefits which new technology promises to society are great enough to Justify devoting sufficient resources to the task.
To put it another way, I will explain from a technologist's viewpoint how we can meet our objective as stated in Mr. Gilmer's testimony.,
1. Technological accomplishments of the Bell System
The history of the Bell System is characterized by the discovery and application of new technology. Within my lifetime, the United States has progressed from a nation held together by post and telegraph, in which the ability to span the country by telephone had barely been demonstrated, to one in which the complex telephone network is an indispensable component, Intimately linked with the growth and operation of communities, private organizations, government, public safety and national security.
Research and development have played a central role in this evolution. Electrical transmission facilities for communications have progressed from open iron wire with a grounded return to a pair of wires on open pole line, to cable carrying a large number of copper wires of increasingly finer gauge, to carrier systems borne by cable or wire, to coaxial cable and microwave radio relay systems, to communication satellites. Amplification improvement has included improvement and refinement of the vacuum tube through the invention of the negative feed-back amplifier and development of long-life tubes for repeaters. An entirely new approach to amplifiers is now possible because of the development of the transistor and related technology. Switching has evolved from manual through step-by-step dial, panel dial, No. 1 crossbar, tandem crossbar, toll crossbar, No. 5 crossbar systems to computer-like electronic apparatus.
As a result of efforts such as these, the telephone companies today provide a basic domestic network of facilities which interconnect virtually every business and residence location. This network, representing an investment of more than $35 billion, is available for private line as well as for exchange-type services. Moreover, the network is capable of transmission and distribution of information in the form of voice, pictures, data and writing, printing and graphics. This network is remarkable in many respects and I believe it serves the public well.
Bell System research has also generated technological innovations which have greatly benefited industry at large. The many uses of the transistor in other industries are well-known. In addition, our circuit and component work have been equally relevant to aerospace and electronics problems. Stereophonic and motion picture sound techniques were developed in the early 1930's in our laboratories; many radio broadcasting improvements came from them earlier. Bell Laboratories, fundamental studies in speech and hearing underlie much of the hi-fi industry today. Bell Laboratories’ programs initiated much of modern solid state materials science, such as pure metals, superconductors, stabilized polymers, and magnetic alloys.
2. The emerging communications needs
The growth and development of our facilities have enabled us to keep pace with the communications needs we have encountered to date. I am confident that further progress will be made in better serving these same needs through improved efficiencies of voice band channels, more convenient instruments and expanded total capacity utilizing new switching and transmission capabilities.
However, as a progressive communications carrier, we must also be prepared to meet a much more advanced set of service needs, which will involve the transmission of new magnitudes of communications, including intermixed batches of data, words and graphics beyond anything conceived hitherto. These forthcoming requirements will result from a growth in the accumulation and utilization of catalogued information, an increasingly important development in our society.
Modern techniques of information collection and dissemination will continue to play an essential role in the operation of our national government. National defense is presently keyed to maximum exploitation of information technology. In the federal government as a whole, according to the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service of the House of Representatives, there will be this year some 2,090 organizational units operating with automatic data processing, of which 900 have one or more electronic computers. The capacity of some of these facilities, especially in the military area, is among the highest known in the world.
The information utilization tools which technology is making available can materially assist in countless other areas of the economy, of which I need mention but a few. For example, colleges and universities must continue to expand their computer capacity and availability if the growing demands of research and education are to be satisfied. Access to these facilities will be necessary for research in physics, chemistry, astronomy, space science, the earth sciences, medicine and the life sciences, the behavioral sciences and engineering; the development of computer science; and the training of students for their later professional work.
In public health, the National Library of Medicine, or the Medlars System, represents one of the initial uses of stored and retrieved diagnostic and other medical information. This information should be available to any physician's office. In addition, the individual's personal health history should be stored and accessible to facilitate treatment wherever the individual may be.
In weather forecasting and ultimately weather modification, a data processing center of extraordinarily high capacity is presently being constructed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Extensive geographically widespread data inputs to such centers will be essential if we are to do more than talk about our environment.
Architectural engineers depend increasingly on programmed analyses of heat loads, actual elements of mechanical structure and other design criteria provided by access to large information centers. These centers are geographically separated from the traditionally decentralized and individualized activities of the architects and builders.
The foregoing examples can be supplemented by countless further illustration throughout the economy. The changes that are in store for the American economy will make heavy demands on the available human skills and talents. It seems essential that we make maximum use of all available technology to expand and distribute these scarce human resources. Communications are vital to this goal.
Communications facilities must expand in view of the continuing increases in the volume of knowledge to be communicated. For example, the contents of American university libraries have doubled in size every 16 years since 1830. The number of titles published annually in the United States alone has more than doubled since 1958. Another way of expressing this growth is to note that the world’s presses are now producing recorded knowledge at the rate of about 2,000 pages of new text per minute. our facilities must have the capability to transmit to interested persons information as to the location of relevant material and to produce that material in appropriate form at the proper time and location.
Moreover, within a decade computer techniques and computer languages will be basic subjects in the colleges (and probably the high schools) of this country. Therefore, we in telecommunications must be prepared for customers who will expect to apply those techniques to the transmission of information for a broad range of governmental, commercial and even social activities.
We must also prepare to meet the further challenges that will occur when data processing facilities are able to read and interchange natural language directly. The ability of machines to respond to written or spoken language will make it possible to comprehensively mechanize libraries, science reference systems and the like.
In addition, there will be a significant demand for video, or broadly, visual communications. Facilities for switched individualized video, such as Picturephone stations, provide effective terminals for the display of information in graphic form. Bell Telephone Laboratories research has produced methods of generating moving graphs, diagrams and sketches so that many graphical forms of problem solution can be produced by the machine, and transmitted directly to individual telecommunications subscribers. Such displays need never pass through the conventional printed out or “hard copy” form between the original generation and the ultimate viewer. Similarly, subscribers will want to receive on their personal screens easily edited pages of formal publications as well as current bulletins and letters.
We in the Bell System intend to respond effectively to these needs. It is clear that both the nature of the messages to be transmitted and their length will vary enormously in such applications. Some information streams may take a long time to transmit, but many can be very short. For example, the data stream corresponding to an ordinary line of about 50 printed characters could theoretically be transmitted over a single telephone channel in about a tenth of a second. Our existing toll and exchange network is a natural vehicle for the economical transmission of this disparate variety of messages in written, oral or graphic form.
Our communications research efforts have solved many of the technical problems raised by these new service needs. The technology developed to carry voice messages is basic to the transmission of other forms of communications such as facsimile, telemetering, data, television and graphic information. Transmission and switching techniques now enable us to transport intermixed quantities of these information form efficiently over common facilities. However, extensive further efforts are necessary before we can move from our present methods of communication to technical and operational forms of high speed digital encoding, versatile electronic switching, microwave transmission and miniaturized instrumentation. Because data and graphic signal transmission do not possess the redundancy of human speech, control of the signals must be more precise and authentic. Control of timing of the signal and stability of circuit elements with temperature changes and aging must be orders of magnitude better than have been adequate in the past.
I would like to briefly mention some of the current research projects at Bell Telephone Laboratories which relate to these problems. Work is underway to devise a digital modulation scheme for microwave transmission at all frequencies, which not only must be simple and efficient, but must also maintain the extreme reliability and accuracy of timing requisite for regeneration of data signals in long systems. We also are exploring wholly new ways of amplifying weak signals, involving very sophisticated modes, and such additional features as primary power for repeaters in remote locations which can last without attention for as long as a year. We have undertaken preliminary microwave generation and control experiments at 11 kilomegacycles; these experiments must be succeeded by work at 18 and 30 kilomegacycles. Our early experiments will center on systems with capacities of 500 to 1000 megabits per second; however, we have accumulated background research for even 15,000 megabits per second, an enormous bit capacity that we think might be needed in the future. These projects must be continually revised in light of improved science and technology of high frequency transmission itself as transmission systems extend into infrared and guided coherent light from lasers.
The new technology should enable us to pass further cost efficiencies on to the users of our existing services. As succeeding carrier systems with broader and broader bands have been developed, there has been an unmistakable tendency for the transmission cost per channel mile to decline. This trend should continue as waveguide systems and laser technology afford the possibility for still greater bandwidths, with continuing per channel cost savings.
In addition, we will be able to enhance the usefulness of all our service offerings. Many of the service improvements which I have mentioned will be available to subscribers as an adjunct to basic telephone service. The Data-Phone data-set and Touch-Tone telephone sets for transmission of data over telephone lines have already stimulated the development of many new uses. It is clear that the public wants and needs communications services with sufficient flexibility to transmit and obtain information in whatever form is most appropriate. The Bell System feels a basic service obligation to provide for such needs. As Mr. Gilmer states, service is our basic reason for being in business. This is equally true at the Bell Telephone Laboratories.
In short, the vitality of any common carrier is a function of the extent to which it satisfies the service needs of its market. A carrier that by design or regulatory compulsion limits its services to the technology of a prior time, regardless of the importance of that technology in its time, is doomed to stagnation. We cannot afford the luxury of assuming that today's offerings can satisfy tomorrow's needs, nor can the public or the Commission afford to allow us to do so.
3. Scope of the necessary effort
So far I have explained how we built the fine network we have today and I have discussed the reasons for the greater demands we face in the immediate future. Now I want to tell you that we have the capability of meeting the demand but that there are problems which must be reckoned with.
In basic research, we must undertake lengthy and expensive explorations in all sectors of physical, mathematical, and even behavioral sciences that appear likely to contribute to the advancement of the art of communications. For example, although we were previously accustomed to designing products from the point of view of exploiting the known characteristics of existing materials, today we must often specify the material characteristics required by the product design and direct our chemists and metallurgists to synthesize the needed material. To avoid duplication of effort and assure maximum effectiveness, the work of each scientist must be coordinated and promptly communicated to all who might be interested. Research must be on a sufficient scale to assure that successes counterbalance failures and to permit work on concepts for which there is no immediately ascertainable application.
The momentum of basic research is generated by the attractiveness of opportunities for useful applications. Discoveries in the Bell Telephone Laboratories such as the optical laser, the superconducting magnetic solenoid, and gas lenses for guiding of coherent light beams were stimulated because the possibility of fruitful application was ever present.
Once a discovery has been made, substantial facilities are required to translate the idea into workable devices and systems. Functional and economic objectives must be determined; broad technical plans, time and cost schedules must be drawn up; the discovery must first be translated into a design for manufacture. Bell System experience indicates that development costs are five to ten times the discovery costs; for instance, development work on the No. 5 crossbar system alone required 700 man years after the idea stage was completed.
Moreover, the translation of our research and development efforts into the context of the operation and evolution of the complex existing system requires a substantial and well integrated program. Advances must often be implemented in phases as the electronic art evolves. For example, the early open wire lines were first equipped with voice frequency repeaters, to which a carrier system could later be added on, with a higher frequency carrier system available at a subsequent date.
The current overriding consideration is the fact that the relevant technology is advancing at a rate of unprecedented rapidity. Research and development must be telescoped to almost simultaneous operations. Effective utilization of technology under such circumstances necessarily involves quick and decisive commitments of substantial funds as well as of scarce and valuable manpower. This entails unavoidable risk, not only for research but also for development and actual implementation.
For these reasons, the inherent characteristics of present day communications technology support the policies discussed by Mr. Gilmer. If we are to continue to provide the high quality service which the public has grown accustomed to expect from the Bell System, we must dedicate substantial resources to a comprehensive research effort to be followed up by heavy capital expenditures for benefits that can only be realized in the long run. Moreover, the rapidity with which we must make such commitments if we are to meet the needs of our users inevitably entail a high degree of risk. Commitments must be based on the best available judgment, where reliable experience and empirical data will not appear until it is too late for effective action. Obviously, these risks cannot be undertaken unless the benefits we can realize are sufficient to justify them.
I have endeavored in this testimony to indicate the new challenges which the needs of our users and the advances of technology are presenting to the Bell System. I have also attempted to describe to you the nature of the effort which we must make if we are to meet those challenges. We are committed to making that effort.