Telecommunications refers to communications at a distance, and developments in science and technology have greatly increased the ability to transmit and receive over large distances. Telecommunications includes the transmission of audio and video, data from computers, multimedia, facsimile images, and voice using electromagnetic energy. National telecommunications is the concept of telecommunications systems that serve an entire nation.
In some countries, there is only one company providing service, at least within a particular arena of telecommunications, such as voice, and in such a case, this company would be a national telecommunications company. An example has been Télécommunications d'Haiti S.A.M. (Teleco). In other cases, there are competing companies, but all serve a market across the whole country. Though not exclusive, these companies could also be referred to as national telecommunications companies. An example would be Verizon®, Sprint®, and AT&T® in the United States.
Associations of telecommunications companies may be national in their scope by the aggregation of their members’ services. Such is the case with the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) in the United States. This associations members are all small and/or rural telecommunications providers, but although the 580 or so members are regional, the association serves the entire country.
National telecommunications is also the focus of national agencies and commissions in multiple countries, who often include the phrase in their names. For example, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) of the Republic of the Philippines is a government regulatory agency that also has quasi-judicial functions. It was formed in 1979 to ensure that information and communications technology (ICT) services are accessible, reliable, affordable, and remain viable. In the United States, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is an example. Created in 1978, the agency’s role is to advise the President on policies related to telecommunications and information.
The phrase can also be used to designate the resources used by a service. This is the case for National Telecommunications Services®, which provides political and grassroots phoning services to clients in the political and public policy realms. The group has the overtly political goal of electing progressive candidates to office.