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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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SMG 3220.4





Transmittal Number 88-84 -- Date: 06/03/1988

[PDF Version]

 1. Purpose
 2. Background
 3. Reference
 4. Definitions
 5. Policy
 6. Responsibilities
 7. Procedures


This guide prescribes the policies and procedures governing the acquisition and utilization of facsimile services and facilities by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


The Agency currently employs various types of facsimile equipment to transmit exact images between headquarters and field locations. Transmissions are made on a station-to-station basis over either the Federal Telecommunications System Intercity Voice Network (FTS) or the commercial dial network. The equipment affords the capability of transmitting or receiving an exact copy of any document -- printed, written, drawn, or photographed -- over ordinary telephone lines. The maximum document size that can be transmitted is 9" x 14". The speed of transmission ranges between sub-minute and 6 minutes per document, depending upon equipment type and the size of the transmitted document.


HHS SUBPART 103-37.56, Telecommunications Management Manual Subject: Facsimile Service prescribes HHS policy and procedures governing the acquisition, use, and control of facsimile equipment and services.

Federal Information Resource Management Regulation (FIRMR), Temporary Regulation 9, Appendix A prescribes that General Services Administration (GSA) review agency requirements for data, facsimile, or record telecommunications systems or services.


A. Facsimile Services. Transmission of exact images of letters, memoranda, photographs, drawings, contracts, and bills over ordinary telephone lines at subminute speeds to a compatible unit and duplicated on some form of paper.

B. Facsimile Transceiver Equipment. Analog/digital transceivers employing store-and-forward, automatic feeder, auto-answer features, unattendability, CCITT Group I, II, and III compatibility and transmitting at subminute speeds. State-of-the-art transceivers weigh 30 lbs or less and fit on any desktop.


It is the policy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide facsimile communications services and facilities for Agency activities that are housed in buildings that do not provide a shared communications center These services are provided at a minimum total cost to the Government, consistent with requirements for capacity, efficiency of operation, reliability of services, security, and program objective.


The Division of Information Resources Management (DIRM), Office of Management Operations, has the overall responsibility for the management and coordination of telecommunications management including:

A. Development and implementation of an ADP and telecommunications plan and budget.

B. Development of standards to assist in linking data and systems across Center and program lines.

C. Design, acquisition, management, and evaluation of all Agency telecommunications systems.

D. Review and approval of all Agency Procurement Requests, contract proposals, Interagency Agreements, and requisitions involving telecommunications and automated systems.

E. Consultation and technical assistance in the selection and use of telecommunications equipment and services.


A. Acquisition of Facsimile Equipment.

A written justification for facsimile equipment shall be submitted for all requests through normal administrative channels to the Division of Information Resources Management (DIRM), Telecommunications Management Branch (HFA-82). The justification must include:

1. Program Information. Specify the organization name and address, and the name and telephone number of the designated contact person.

2. Requirement Description. The description must identify:

a. Primary program that the facsimile equipment will support.

b. Current facsimile equipment and service supporting the program.

c. Facsimile facilities and services to be acquired.

d. Intercity requirements and the average number of messages to be transmitted/received per day during business hours and after business hours.

e. Cost of the acquisition and system life.

B. Operating Criteria.

Facsimile transceiver equipment should be located in a telecommunications center environment. It may be located in a program office if such an arrangement will result in a more efficient and economic operation. Facsimile services should be used when critical operating deadlines dictate the need for the transmission and/or reception of exact image correspondence, sketches, maps, charts, or other written documents. Document size limitations depend upon transceiver capabilities. Correspondence not fitting into this situation should be transmitted via other means (i.e., electronic mail, telephone, or U.S. mail).

C. Transmission Quality.

The image quality of the received facsimile document depends greatly upon the quality of the document transmitted. Every effort should be made to provide the original copy of a document for the transmission. This will ensure good quality at the receiving location.

D. Facsimile Transceiver Equipment Locations.

FDA headquarters and field locations are equipped with facsimile transceiver services. A listing of the phone numbers and locations may be found in the current edition of the FDA Location Directory. Questions concerning other activities, or locations where facsimile messages may be sent, should be referred to the local telecommunications center.

E. Authority for Transmission.

Headquarters activities must submit to the Division of Information Resources Management (DIRM), Telecommunications Management Branch, (HFA-82) the names of persons within their organization authorized to originate facsimile correspondence. Field locations must submit their authorization lists to their respective administrative offices. Only those persons designated on the authorization list may originate facsimile message traffic.