Digital exchange stations linked by earth satellite operate in a coordinately controllable time division switching and communication network system relative to externally attached telephone and data trunks. Modular switching equipment operating in coordination with satellite frames establishes and releases connection paths to trunk stores which interface with time and space domain channels of the system. Circuits through the system utilizing these paths are termed virtual connections because in different frames a circuit may be completed through different channels or even blocked under certain conditions. Telephone speech is converted between analog and digital forms relative to modular groups of 96 ports. Digital switching (slot interchange) equipment serving up to four groups (and cycling in coordination with satellite time division frames) cyclically completes local (intra-station) connections between ports and segments of toll (inter-station) connections between ports and locations in the trunk stores. The trunk stores comprise separate sections for system traffic bound to and from ports of the respective station. A duplicate arrangement of subsections in each section is alternately filled and emptied in successive frames; enabling the station to maintain continuity of communication relative to the system in successive frames. The 192 bit spaces of each location are filled in one frame and emptied in the next frame. Groups of 96 outbound locations are "virtually" associated for transmission with groups of 48 time division transmission channels of said facilities. The association operates by a process of selection termed voice activity compression (abbreviated VAC) based upon activity information developed at the port interface and carried through the switching equipment in positional association with trunk locations. The VAC process assigns only locations (virtual channels) containing activity to up to 46 of the 48 time channels, eliminating any excess of active virtual channels (over 46) in a selective order of priority. VAC mask information transmitted in a separate one of the 48 time channels indicates the virtual-to-real (96-to-46) assignment for the respective group in the respective frame. A bit in the mask for each virtual channel of the group indicates the assignment or elimination of the respective virtual channel. Assigned channels are transmitted in the time order of respective mask bits. Establishment of virtual connections is restricted system-wide by tables stored in the stations. These tables are subject to external modification and may contain path exclusion information enabling the system to remain effectively operational with inoperative elements.