March 23, 1999





This appendix establishes the policy for the acquisition, management, and use of studio types of video teleconferencing, facilities, and systems.



Through the information revolution, USDA employees have gained access to more information than ever before. This wealth of information has helped USDA to carry-out important programs. At the same time, USDA is being asked to do more with less money. Video teleconferencing permit USDA agency or staff office personnel to have live exchanges of information without the lost time and high cost of traveling to attend a face-to-face meeting in a distant city. Video teleconferencing offers many beneficial applications including training and distance learning, data collaboration, telecommuting, large and small meetings, and informational broadcasts.



Source Publication Title/Subject

NCS FTR 1080-1997 Video Teleconferencing Services at 56 to 1,920 kbit/s

USDA DR 3140-1 Information Systems Security Policy

USDA DM 3140-1 thru 8 Information Systems Security (Draft) Manuals



FPMR -Federal Property Management Regulation

FTR -Federal Telecommunications Regulation

FTS -Federal Telecommunications Service

GSA -General Services Administration

ISSTD -Information Systems Security and Telecommunications Division

ITU-TSS -International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunications Standard Sector

MRG -Minimum Revenue Guarantee

NCS -National Communications System

OCIO -Office of the Chief Information Officer

TBSD -Telecommunications Business Services Division

TSO -Telecommunications Services and Operations



a Federal Property Management Regulation (FPMR) 101-35.301 requires the use of the General Services Administration (GSA) mandatory FTS 2000 contract by Federal agencies for long distance telecommunications services. These services include interLATA video teleconferencing which USDA agencies must continue to use until transition to FTS2001 is complete. All video teleconferencing systems must use FTS2000 and the follow-on FTS2001 (until MRG is met) long distance network services for interLATA transmission unless the agency has been granted an exception by the GSA and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).

b Video teleconferencing systems being considered for acquisition shall be in accordance with the standards requirements of the National Communications System (NCS) Federal Telecommunications Recommendation (FTR) 1080A-1998. This FTR, by adoption of International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunications Standardization Sector (ITU-TSS) Recommendations H.320, H.221, H.242, H.261, H.230, H.231, H.243, H.233, H.234, and H.244, defines the specifications for video teleconferencing.

c USDA requires consideration of the shared use of existing USDA or other Federal Government agency video teleconferencing facilities as an economic alternative for meeting agency requirements. Where shared facilities exist and agency requirements are such that interagency sharing of these facilities is not feasible, the agency proposal to acquire new equipment and/or facilities must be submitted to the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for technical review and analysis. The proposal must:

(1) Specify the agency's requirements;

(2) Describe security measures;

(3) Describe the proposed system;

(4) Provide a benefit/cost analysis to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of the proposed facility arrangement; and

(5) Identify how the equipment and/or system will be procured and managed.

d Technical approval for acquisition of new facilities/equipment will be granted by the Associate Chief Information Officer for Telecommunications Services and Operations whenever analysis of the request indicates this is the best approach for USDA.



  a Office of the Chief Information Officer will:

(1) Review agency proposals and technical waiver requests and issue waivers, if justified, to acquire video teleconferencing facilities where shared facilities exist and agency requirements are such that interagency sharing of these facilities is not feasible or proposed new facilities do not meet the basic standards/requirements of this policy; and

(2) Maintain a USDA Video Teleconferencing Facility Directory of location addresses and contacts for all business video conference studio and portable facilities.

b Agencies and Staff Offices will:

(1) Coordinate the use of existing USDA or other Federal agency video teleconferencing facilities listed in the USDA Video Teleconferencing Facility Directory; and

(2) Provide directory information to the Office of the Chief Information Officer/Telecommunications Services and Operations-Telecommunications Business Services Division (TSO-TBSD) within 30 days following installation of new video teleconferencing facilities available for shared use. Directory information for all existing video facilities shall be provided to TSO-TBSD within 90 days of the issue date of this Departmental Regulation.



a Adequate security must be provided by the agency or staff office for all sensitive information (as defined in DR 3140-1) transmitted in a video teleconference, regardless of form. Transmission of national security classified information is not authorized unless the mandatory requirements of FTR 1080A-1998 Annex B of Appendix A- Classified security and DOD specific requirements are met.

b Additional information concerning telecommunications security and available protection capabilities can be obtained by contacting the USDA Information Systems Security Program Manager to ensure compliance with both Federal and Departmental policy and regulations.



a FTS 2000. The GSA contracted Government-wide interLATA telecommunications network for long distance services. Its use is mandatory for all Federal agencies, through December 1999 or transition to FTS2001 unless an exception to use services from another network is granted by GSA and OCIO. The services provided by the contract include voice, data, and video to all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Midway, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

b FTS2001. The GSA contracted Government-wide interLATA telecommunications network for long distance services.

c InterLATA. As applied to FTS 2000/2001 network services, a telecommunications transmission between two or more locations that are in different Local Access and Transport Areas.

d Video Teleconference. A video communications session among three or more people that are geographically separated. This form of conferencing started with room systems where groups of people meet in a room with a wide-angle camera and large monitors and conference with other groups at remote locations. Federal, state and local governments are making major investments in group video conferencing for distance learning and telemedicine.



a Copies of FTR 1080A-1998 can be obtained from:

National Communications SystemTechnology and Standards Division (N6), 701 South Court House Road, Arlington, VA 22204-2198

When requesting copies, refer to Federal Telecommunications Recommendation 1080A-1998, Video Teleconferencing Services at 56 to 1,920 kbit/s.

b Copies of the specifications and related documents can be obtained from:

ITU-TSS and Phillips Business Information, Inc.


Recommendations 1201 Seven Locks Road, Suite 300

Potomac, MD 20854

TEL (800) 666-4266

ITU-TSS National Technical Information Service

Recommendations U S Department of Commerce

Springfield, VA 22161

TEL (703) 487-4650