On 20 December 1961, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 1721 (XVI) on “International Co-operation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space” which identified telecommunications by satellite as an important benefit and hoped “that communications by satellites should be available to the nations of the world as soon as practicable on a global and non-discriminatory basis”.
The UN’s expectations were ultimately met by the creation of the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT IGO), the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), the Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications (INTERSPUTNIK) and also some national systems with a regional coverage. At that time, most telecommunications were regarded as a public service to be provided by government and to be operated in a monopoly environment.
Furthermore, the commercial utilisation of space technology was conceivable only through governments or intergovernmental agencies because of the need for government funding of the huge capital expenditure involved in establishing a satellite system, as well as strategic issues.
This led to the establishment of Intergovernmental Satellite Organizations (ISOs), enabling Governments to maintain control over public global or regional services, rather than entrusting such services to the private sector.