Although there is need for more systematic scrutiny of optimality criteria for public investment in telecommunications R&D, the present chapter will stop far short of that. Nor will it contain speculation about the conceivable or desirable changes in administrative organization for mounting a more potent governmental promotional effort. Rather, it will focus on the federal government's actual role, with special reference to the historical record, the current underwriting of private R&D, and the federal program in atmospheric research.