International Telecommunications Satellite Organization

In this article, you can read all about INTELSAT, formerly called ITSO, as part of the science and technology segment of the UPSC syllabus.

INTELSAT Origin

  • The International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (INTELSAT) has its origin in the International Telecommunications Consortium which was founded in 1964 by the telecommunications agencies of nations.
  • The Consortium, the first worldwide system of its kind, was open to all members of the ITU, and its management resided in the US Communication Satellite Corporation (COMSAT).
  • As membership expanded, it was decided to create a formal organisation. As a result, Intelsat was established by two international agreements concluded at Washington in August 1971, effective February 1973; the Agreement with four annexes, establishing the Organisation itself, was signed by participating states; and the Operating Agreement, with one annexe, was concluded among states and public and private telecommunications bodies designated by the states.
  • At present, over 140 countries participate as full members; while another 45 are non-signatory users.

Objectives of INTELSAT

The objective is “to carry forward on a definitive basis the design, development, construction, establishment, operation and maintenance of the space segment of the commercial telecommunications satellite system”.

INTELSAT Structure

  • INTELSAT consists of the Assembly of Parties, Meeting of Signatories, Board of Governors and an Executive Organ.
  • The Assembly of Parties gives “consideration to those aspects of INTELSAT which are primarily of interest to the parties as sovereign states”.
  • Meeting once every two years, the Assembly formulates policy and long-term aims.
  • The Meeting of Signatories is primarily concerned with financial, technical and operational matters, and includes other parties who are signatories to the Agreements.
  • The Board of Governors is composed of 27 members and provides management policy direction. The Governors are appointed on the basis of contribution, which is not less than a specified investment share, as well as on regional considerations.

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