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 Friday, May 04, 2007

A United States House of Representatives subcommittee approved a bill on spyware this week, which recommends up to five years in prison for convicted distributors of malicious spyware.

Past versions of the Internet Spyware Prevention Act have failed to pass a vote in the United States Senate. Observers have pointed out, however, that the increasing militancy among users fed up with unwanted software intrusion may make this latest attempt more successful. And there is a lot at stake. Creating trust in the internet will ensure its future development. More on this story is available here.

The ITU is taking a leading role in cybersecurity initiatives, particularly in light of calls for global action made at the World Summit on the Information Society. More information on ITU's work in this area is available here.

Friday, May 04, 2007 3:01:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 02, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007 1:13:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Clean Slate Design for the Internet is an interdisciplinary research program at Stanford University. The founders of this program believe that the current Internet has significant deficiencies which must be resolved before the Internet can become a unified global communication infrastructure. They feel that to solve these deficiencies, focus must be placed on bold, unconventional, and long-term research that tries to break down the network's ossification. 

They characterize the program with two questions: (1)  Given current knowledge, if we were to start over with a clean slate, how would we design a global communications infrastructure? and (2) How should the Internet look in 15 years? The program will be driven from the ground up, by research projects with the intention of creating a "loosely-coupled breeding ground for new ideas."  The program's goal is to be flexible and to create the structure and identify and focus funds to support the best research in clean slate design.  The program will also collaborate with and receive funds from approximately seven industrial partners with interests in networking services, equipment, semiconductors, and applications.

See more background information on the program here.
See the white paper describing the program structure and key areas of research here.
For a presentation describing the program, click here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 11:44:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 23, 2007

As one the series of Google TechTalks, Van Jacobson presents his talk entitled "A New Way to Look at Networking."

Jacobson's motivation for giving this talk is his feeling that in the last decade network research in the United States has been at a dead end. Despite technological advances, everything with networking is becoming more difficult. People are spread out over multiple devices, wireless barely works, and the solutions that are being presented solve the small problems but do not deal with the larger cause.  In the current situation, Jacobson feels the Internet is not a bad solution but the problem has changed. We are on the verge of a Copernican revolution. A good analogy to this situation is the one faced in the 1960s and 1970s when efforts were being made to use the telephony system to move data.

The traditional telephony system was not about calls, it was about wires. To have a successful business model, a ubiquitous wire system was necessary. Jacobson provides an explanation of the system, how it works, and the issues that arose over ownership of the network. One characteristic of the network was its unreliability. Every piece had to work all the time. Because of this the network was designed to have reliable elements instead of being reliable as a whole. 

The current issue is in order to have access to information, the device used must be connected to the Internet or the user will be cut off. This can be difficult because the device must have a topologically stable address. Also, the Internet does not like things that move or broadcast; it was not designed for this.  How the network is being used has changed. We are not longer in a conversation model. A conversation model cannot be transformed into a viable security model. Instead, Jacobson promotes a dissemination model by discussing the work that is being done with this framework including ways of transferring and storing information and their advantages.

Jacobson feels that the continued reliance on the conversation model has evolved the situation to the point where the user must now do the low level connection plumbing to get what he/she wants.  If we change our view to the dissemination model, the network does the plumbing. 

The full talk can be found here.

 

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:23:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 19, 2007

The ITU workshop The Future of Voice held on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland looked, inter alia, at the voice traffic and revenue trends in the last fifteen years.

On the global level, local and national long-distance reported telephone minutes per capita were growing in the 1990s and stably falling since the beginning of the new decade. A notable exception of the general rule is the US experiencing continuous growth in the number of local minutes: in 15 years, the number of local minutes per capita has grown four-fold. The international outgoing traffic grew significantly over the last fifteen years: in the Republic of Korea, in 2005 it was 15 times more intensive than in 1990, in the US – five times. Even though, since the beginning of the new century, the international voice traffic tends to slowly decrease.

If we look at the global telecom revenue, we will see the stable global expansion of the sector over the whole period. Voice revenue as a percentage of the total remains stable, while the traffic generated by users has doubled. In 2004, as in 1991, voice constituted more than 80% of telecom revenue surpassing, by far, income from any other source. In the coming years, voice is expected to stay strong driven by falling prices and increasing volumes of traffic.

What are the drivers behind these trends? Enlarged number of users, competition and market liberalization, enhanced innovation and emerging alternative communication platforms, migration to all-IP environment or all of these and more? The dynamics of development of the telecom sector is driven today by multiple factors in an increasingly complex environment both in developed and developing countries. Pressures are forcing change at different levels – market, regulation, type of technology, framed by the shift towards the emerging global economy.

For more insights of the debate on the future of voice, see the complete presentation of Tim Kelly, Head and Jaroslaw Ponder, Policy Analyst of the Strategy & Policy Unit of ITU.

More presentations and background materials on the subject can be found at the Future of Voice website.

Friday, January 19, 2007 2:59:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 18, 2007

ITU held a workshop entitled The Future of Voice on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This workshop organized under the ITU New Initiatives Programme focused on the role of voice communications in the future ubiquitous network environment.

For a long time, voice services have been the principal driver of telecommunication revenue and will probably continue to drive demand for some time. Nevertheless, it is becoming harder to sustain traditional models of per-minute pricing for voice as the service is increasingly carried over data channels that are priced on a flat-rate basis. Some of the key issues discussed during the event include:

• How are voice services evolving and what does this mean for users, providers and the telecommunication industry as a whole?
• How will fixed, mobile and internet-based phone services converge?
• How does messaging, gaming, multimedia fit in?
• Are voice services of the future most likely to be billed by the minute, by volume, or on a flat rate basis?
• What regulatory freedom should be given to operators to bundle voice with other services (e.g., multiple play: voice, video, internet and mobility)?
• What form of licensing, if any, will be necessary for voice service providers?
• What will be the new business models and revenue streams?
• What are the residual universal service obligations (e.g. emergency calls) that should be imposed on voice providers?

All presentations and background papers as well as a web archive of the event (video and audio) are available on the workshop website.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 1:43:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Several Internet-related Decisions and Resolutions were adopted at the ITU 2006 Plenipotentiary Conference. These include:

  • DECISION GT-PLEN/A (Antalya, 2006): Fourth World Telecommunication Policy Forum
  • RESOLUTION 101 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): Internet Protocol-based networks
  • RESOLUTION 102 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): ITU’s role with regard to international public policy issues pertaining to the Internet and the management of Internet resources, including domain names and addresses
  • RESOLUTION 130 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): Strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies
  • RESOLUTION 133 (Rev. Antalya, 2006): Role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalized (multilingual) domain names
  • RESOLUTION GT-PLEN/7 (Antalya, 2006): Study on the participation of all relevant stakeholders in the activities of the Union related to the World Summit on the Information Society

The text of these resolutions and decisions can be found here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:09:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 18, 2006

A presentation entitled Update on ITU Cybersecurity and Countering Spam Activities (PDF), was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the 2nd Joint London Action Plan (LAP) - EU Contact Network of Spam Authorities (CNSA) meeting on 13-14 December in Brussels.

At the same event, Mark Sunner of MessageLabs gave a presentation entitled Security Landscape Update describing the latest kinds of security threats, including the emergence of a new peer-to-peer 'SpamThru' zombie botnet (Slide 7).

Monday, December 18, 2006 2:25:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 11, 2006

8 December 2006 At last week's ITU WORLD TELECOM FORUM in Hong Kong, China, a special event was held entitled Countering Spam Cooperation Agenda. The agenda with submitted presentations from the meeting is now available on the WSIS Action Line C5: Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity website.

Monday, December 11, 2006 5:06:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of the Intenet's pioneers, Dr. Larry Roberts, gave a presentation yesterday at ITU World Telecom Forum 2006 in Hong Kong entitled Optimizing the Internet Quality of Service and Economics for the Digital Generation. Dr. Roberts discussed standardization work in the ITU on end-to-end QoS signalling to better deliver video over the Internet. In particular, he discussed the work on a new flow based, in-band signaling standard called Y.flowreq.

 

 

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:04:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Economist has an article entitled Your television is ringing that discusses service providers build-outs of Next Generation Network (NGN) converged platforms.

In fact, although the industry likes to depict convergence as a great boon for customers, it actually involves a technological shift that, in the first instance at least, will primarily benefit network operators. At its heart, convergence is the result of the telecoms industry's embrace of internet technology, which provides a cheaper, more efficient way to move data around on networks. On the internet everything travels in the form of “packets” of data, encoded using internet protocol, or IP. The same system can also be used to encode phone conversations, text and photo messages, video calls and television channels—and indeed anything else.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:09:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The ITU and the EU's Daidalos Project plan a workshop on "Digital Identity for NGN" Dec. 5 in Geneva, officials said Mon. The Daidalos Project and VeriSign are advancing global standardization of digital identity management at the ITU, officials said. Proposals have been floated at ITU on handling the issue, but consensus is still forming. The aim of the workshop is to understand better providers' need to offer digital identity across layers of communication systems, administrative domains and other boundaries, documents said. Key challenges for developing a more consistent approach are to tackle the conflicting requirements of privacy, identification and security, documents said. The NGN-GSI Event will focus on identity management as a key theme during its meeting Oct. 23-Nov. 3, said an official involved in the work. The past year or 2, several research institutes in Japan, S. Korea and Switzerland have been interested in sensor network identifiers, he added. There's supposed to be an identity management piece in the October 23-24 Grid Workshop as well, the official said: "There's a whole burgeoning world of communicating sensor devices, and [they] will need some kind of identity to communicate whatever kind of sensing information they have."

Source: Warren's Washington Internet Daily

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 8:44:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 03, 2006

ITU-T is hosting a workshop NGN and Grids in collaboration with the Open Grid Forum (OGF) in Geneva , 23-24 October 2006. Grid computing enables organizations to pool IT resources across departmental and organizational boundaries in a secure, highly efficient manner in order to solve massive computational problems.

Next generation networks (NGN) offer increased quality and service features for users, independent of the underlying transport technology. ITU-T’s Global Standards Initiative on Next Generation Network (NGN-GSI) is well under way and is responding to urgent market needs for global NGN standards.

The workshop will explore how Grids will work in an NGN environment by bringing together experts from both communities.
The telco community is eyeing Grid development with interest. Telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example but new revenue streams can be foreseen in areas such as managed grid services.

One panel discussion and Q&A will pose the question: "What can Grids do for Telcos and what can Telcos do for Grids?" Other panel discussions will examine NGN management and security. From a telecoms perspective there are some challenges such as QoS, how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT). It is expected that all of these topics and more will be addressed. A key result of the event will be a gap analysis of standards in the field and a better understanding of how grids can be catered for in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2. An action plan outlining what work needs to be done, and where can then be developed.

See the ITU-T Newslog for more details on the workshop.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 9:13:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 28, 2006

The ITU has unveiled a new website Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity dedicated to moderation/facilitation activities related to implementation of WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs.

Background

The outcome documents from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) emphasize that building confidence and security in the use of ICTs is a necessary pillar for building a global information society (see extracts). The Tunis Agenda describes the establishment of a mechanism for implementation and follow-up to WSIS and requests ITU to play a facilitator/moderator role for WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs. In order to stress the importance of the multi-stakeholder implementation of related work programmes, ITU has named this the Partnerships for Global Cybersecurity initiative.

Here's how to participate and how to contact us if you would like to contribute to the work programmes.

Work Programmes

Based on the first facilitation meeting held in May 2006 and the related Chairman's Report, work programmes in three focus areas have been initiated:

For general information on WSIS implementation as a whole, including other action lines and themes, see here.

 

Thursday, September 28, 2006 11:34:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 17, 2006

At the invitation of the Government of Cameroon and Cameroon's Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART), FTRA-2006, on the theme "IP networks and related services: Challenges for African regulators", was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 7 and 8 June 2006. Eighty-three participants from 23 countries and 11 organizations attended the forum.

Participants emphasized the need to review the telecommunications-ICT political, legal, administrative and regulatory issues with a view to their inclusion of aspects relating to the Internet and related services, and the need for human capacity building for regulators in a rapidly changing telecommunications environment. After the successful establishment of sub-regional African Telecommunication Regulatory Associations, the Forum discussed the creation of a PAN African Regulatory Association building on the achievement of the African Telecommunication Regulators Network (ATRN) with the aim of putting in place an efficient mechanism capable of decision-making at the continental level. They finally agreed in principle on the establishment of such an association and its integration in the African Telecommunications Union (ATU). The recommendations agreed on may be found in the final communiqué.

FTRA-2007 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya with the exact dates announced at a later date.

[via the ITU-D Newslog]

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:42:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 04, 2006

A forthcoming ITU-T IPTV Global Technical Workshop will review and examine IPTV standardization, political and regulatory aspects, business models and various case studies as well as technical developments and service provider’s operational aspects.

IPTV represents a convergence between the traditional telecommunication and broadcast industries. And, as with any convergence a lot of work is needed to ensure interoperability. Globally accepted standards are clearly a key enabler for this. With many of the conditions necessary for IPTV rollout in place - global IP connectivity over managed broadband infrastructure with such guarantees as QoS and security, and broadband connectivity with enhanced network capabilities - there is a strong demand for standards to ensure smooth service rollout and interoperability.

The workshop will provide a review of the current status of IPTV work as well as an examination of where to go next.

See the meeting website for further information.

[ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, August 04, 2006 11:35:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 28, 2006

Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) has been instructed by Resolution 48 of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). It is considered that implementation of IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in IRA (International Reference Alphabet) characters.

To meet this obligation, Study Group 17 developed new Question 16, Internationalized Domain Names tasked in particular to investigate all relevant issues in the field of IDN. The mandate for Question 16 is available on the Study Group 17 website.

Question 16 was approved at the April 2006 Study Group 17 meeting in Jeju, Korea. At this meeting Question 16 drafted a questionnaire for a Circular to Member States, requesting information on their experiences in the use of IDN. TSB Circular 96 was issued on 31 May 2006.

The ITU-T has unveiled an IDN resource site to share information on work progress, achievements and acquired knowledge in the field of IDN. It includes an introduction to IDN, information about related events, standards materials, news, information on national and other IDN developments and a FAQ.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:49:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The high cost for developing countries in accessing the Internet backbone was a hot-topic at a recent, Geneva held meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 3 focusing on tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues.

Study Group 3 will submit a paper, outlining its activities and future work plan on international internet connectivity (IIC) to the first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to be held in Athens, Greece in October 2006

It has been claimed that some charging arrangements for IIC disadvantage smaller networks and developing countries. In June 2004 an amendment to ITU-T Recommendation D.50 was made to set out general considerations for parties to negotiate Internet interconnection. These considerations can be used to assist two parties to an interconnection agreement to negotiate in a more harmonized way.

"27.  We recommend improvements and innovations in existing financing mechanisms, including:
 Providing affordable access to ICTs, by the following measures:

i.  Reducing international Internet costs charged by backbone providers, supporting, inter alia, the creation and development of regional ICT backbones and Internet Exchange Points to reduce interconnection cost and broaden network access; 

ii. Encouraging ITU to continue the study of the question of the International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as an urgent matter to develop appropriate Recommendations."

See the ITU-T Study Group 3 website for more information.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 10:55:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 07, 2006

A presentation entitled Networks in Transition: Emerging Policy and Regulatory Challenges of Next Generation Networks (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the Masters of Communication Management (MCM) Annual Conference, Goodenough College on 6 July 2006 in London, England.

Friday, July 07, 2006 12:05:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 30, 2006

A presentation entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit at a London Business School Global Communications Consortium event entitled "Next Generation Networks - Investment & Regulation" on 29 June 2006 in London, England.

Friday, June 30, 2006 3:11:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The ITU held an international workshop under its New Initiatives Programme on the topic "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006. The final report [PDF]  of the chairman has now been published.

Workshop presentations can be found here. Background documents, including country case studies and thematic papers are also available on the workshop homepage.

 

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:08:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Microsoft today gave the world a rare - albeit conservative - glimpse of its view on just how bad the virus and bot problem has gotten for Windows users worldwide.

The data comes from 15 months' worth of experience scanning computers with its "malicious-software removal tool," a free component that Microsoft offers Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 users when they download security updates from Microsoft.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 2:25:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Will Content Be King?, presentation by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the 7 June 2006 conference Digital Content: a Modern Fairy Tale or the Old King in the New Clothes in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event was organized by the law offices of Norcous & Partners, in association with the Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius University Faculty of Law.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 1:21:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 02, 2006

Do not panic if your data is hidden by virus writers demanding a ransom. A woman from Greater Manchester has become a victim of an internet scam in which hackers hijack computer files and blackmail owners to get them back.

More information can be found here.

Friday, June 02, 2006 11:09:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 01, 2006

A joint ITU-T/Global Grid Forum (GGF) workshop on NGN and Grids will take place at ITU headquarters, Geneva, from 23 to 24 October 2006 inclusive. The invitation letter contains additional details and a provisional agenda. The objective of the meeting is to:

  • Review the present status of applications, services and business opportunities in Grid networks and NGNs.
  • Discuss future evolution for Grids and NGNs both in terms of business opportunities and related technical requirements.
  • Identify relevant existing international standards as well as gaps in the standardization framework for Grids and NGNs.
  • Understand what additional features required by Grids should be considered in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2.
  • Identify the impact of NGN on Grids.
  • Contribute to the establishment of a roadmap for future standardization activities among major players.
  • Prepare a coordinated action plan on urgent standardization issues between standards developing organizations and fora/consortia working in this area.
Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:26:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 17 Questionnaire on information about experiences on the use of IDN

"The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) in Resolution 48 instructed Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).  The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

To assist this plan, Question 16/17 (Internationalized Domain Names) has been brought into being and tasked with investigating all relevant issues in the field of IDNs.

To recognize national, regional and international issues concerning IDNs, Study Group 17 prepared a questionnaire (see Annex 1) on information about experiences on the use of IDNs.

The objective of this questionnaire is to collect information and experiences on Internationalized Domain Names under ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) around the globe. This will help identify Member States’ needs and practices concerning this subject. This information will serve to prepare a report on the implementation of IDNs and facilitate future work on IDN within Study Group 17.

If there are two or more ccTLDs in the responder's Member State, please complete separate answer sheets for each, unless they have exactly the same answers.

If the Member State is not responsible for the ccTLD, please forward the questionnaire to the concerned body."

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:25:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Continued Transition of the Technical Coordination and Management of the Internet Domain Name and Addressing System

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) seeks comment on the continuation of the transition of the technical coordination and management of the Internet domain name and addressing system (Internet DNS) to the private sector. In June 1998, the Department issued a statement of policy on the privatization of the Internet DNS, which among other things articulated four primary functions for global Internet DNS coordination and management, the need to have these functions performed by the private sector and four principles to guide the transition to private sector management of the Internet DNS. On June 30, 2005, NTIA released the U.S. Principles on the Internet’s Domain Name and Addressing System further elaborating on these issues. The Department of Commerce seeks comment regarding the progress of this transition and announces a public meeting to be held on July 26, 2006, to discuss issues associated with this transition.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:18:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

This brochure summarizes the results of a workshop on Tomorrow’s Networks Today, held in Saint Vincent (Aosta), Italy from 7 to 8 October 2005. It was prepared by Cristina Bueti and Marco Obiso on the basis of specially prepared case studies, input documents and contributions to the workshop. The enclosed CD-Rom contains the background materials and documents of the workshop as well as a wide range of background resources related to tomorrow’s networks.

More information can be found here.

Click here to buy the brochure.

Monday, May 22, 2006 4:52:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2006. Iceland has taken over as this year's leader from Korea with Netherlands, Denmark and Hong Kong, China rounding out the top five.

Monday, May 22, 2006 1:12:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Use the Internet at home and you have a 1-in-3 chance of suffering computer damage, financial loss, or both because of a computer virus or spyware that sneaks onto your computer. That's one of the unsettling conclusions from the 2005 Consumer Reports State of the Net survey of online consumers.

More information can be found here.

Monday, May 22, 2006 9:29:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 18, 2006

In a press release today, ITU announced a global opinion survey to assess trust of online transactions and awareness of cybersecurity measures. The survey was conducted by ITU in conjunction with World Telecommunication Day, celebrated on 17 May to commemorate the founding of ITU in 1865. The theme chosen this year — Promoting Global Cybersecurity — aims to highlight the serious challenges of ensuring the safety and security of networked information and communication systems.

The announcement of the results of the survey coincides with the launch of an ITU Cybersecurity Gateway portal. The portal is a global online reference source of national cybersecurity initiatives and websites around the world and provides an integrated platform for sharing cybersecurity related information and resources. Presenting information tailored to four specific audiences: citizens, businesses, governments, and international organizations, the portal also provides information resources on topical cybersecurity concerns such as spam, spyware, phishing, scams and frauds, worms and viruses, denial of service attacks, etc.

With thousands of links to relevant materials, ITU intends to constantly update the portal with information on cybersecurity initiatives and resources gathered from contributors around the globe. For example, a number of countries are now ramping up national critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP) programmes and sharing information on these initiatives through the portal can assist both developed and developing economies in promoting global cybersecurity.

These efforts highlight work being carried out as follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Action line C5 dealing with "Building confidence and security in the use of ICT", for which ITU is the facilitator/moderator.

Update: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has made the following statement in conjunction with World Telecommunication Day giving his perspectives on promoting global cybersecurity.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 9:52:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bill St. Arnaud on the Canarie mailing list points to an interesting paper entitled The Ongoing Evolution from Packet Based Networks to Hybrid Networks in Research & Education Networks (Word). The paper references a number of the standardization activities on optical transport networks taking place in the ITU-T's Study Group 15.

Abstract:

The ongoing evolution from packet based networks to hybrid networks in Research & Education (R&E) networks, or what are the fundamental reasons behind this fundamental paradygm shift and the resulting growing gap between commercial and R&E Internet networks?

As exemplified by the Internet2 HOPI initiative, the new GEANT2 backbone, the GLIF  initiative and projects such as Dragon and Ultralight, National Research and Education Network (NREN) infrastructures are undergoing several very fundamental evolutions moving from conventional Packet based Internet networks to Hybrid networks while also moving from commercial Telecom Operator networks to Customer Empowered, dark fiber based, networks.

By hybrid networks, we mean the combination of conventional packet based Internet networks coupled with the capability to dynamically establish high speed End-to-end circuits, i.e. Bandwidth on Demand (BoD), also referred to sometimes as "lambda Grids",

This paper is attempting to explain the fundamental reasons behind this very significant paradygm shift and to assess its likely impact on National R&E, while also giving a very brief overview on what next generation Optical Transport Networks (OTN) may look like in a few years time with the advent of Ethernet over SONET/SDH (EoS), Generic Framing Procedures (GFP), Virtual Concatenation (VCAT) and Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:22:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) authored by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) have been consented as internationally recognised ITU-T Recommendations. The announcement is the first result of the formal relationship between the standardization sector of ITU and OASIS.

The standards (ITU-T Recommendations X.1141 (SAML) and X.1142 (XACML)) address the concern of how to allow safe single sign-on, a system that enables a user to authenticate once and gain access to the resources of multiple software systems. While solutions existed in this space, all were proprietary, and therefore not addressing the problem on a global level.

SAML and XACML are designed to control access to devices and applications on a network. The need for standards in this area has become more of an issue as business networks increasingly use the public Internet.

SAML addresses authentication and provides a mechanism for transferring authentication and authorization decisions between cooperating entities, XACML leverages this information to determine access to resources by focusing on the mechanism for arriving at those authorization decisions.

An additional feature of SAML is that it allows organizations to communicate information without any change to their own internal security architectures.

[via ITU-T Newslog]
Thursday, May 11, 2006 11:07:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mobile Industry Outlook 2006, a new 180-page report from Informa Telecoms & Media answers the most significant questions facing today's mobile operators, equipment vendors and handset vendors as they seek to plan their strategy in 2006.

The report is available here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:20:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Now underway is the ITU/UNESCO Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet which is a follow-up to Phase 2 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The event is being audiocast live in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The programme is available here and contains links to all the presentations and speaker biographies.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:59:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 05, 2006

3 Italia has launched Walk TV, the first digital TV mobile broadcast using DVB-H technology in Europe. Programming will initially consist of channels from state broadcaster RAI, Mediaset and News Corp unit Sky Italia. And in June, the TV services will expand to include 3 Italia's own La3-branded channels, and World Cup soccer action, for which 3 Italia has bought the DVB-H Italian territory rights.

The 3 Italia DVB-H service reaches 65% of Italy's population and customers will need specific handsets to access the content.

More information can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006 8:58:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China has introduced regulations that make it illegal to run an email server without a licence. The new rules, which came into force two weeks ago, mean that most companies running their own email servers in China are now breaking the law. The new email licensing clause is just a small part of a new anti-spam law formulated by China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII).

The impact on corporate email servers, which are commonly used by companies with more than a handful of employees, appears to have gone unnoticed until now. However, Singapore-based technology consultant, James Seng, who first drew attention to the new email licence requirement, believes the inclusion of the prohibition on mail servers is no accident.

More information can be found here.

Friday, May 05, 2006 11:21:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 04, 2006

At a recent Study Group 17 (SG17) meeting in Korea, SG17 gave final approval to a Question on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) that provides direction and focus to ongoing work.

The news comes as ITU makes final preparations for the Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet, it is convening together with UNESCO, 9-11 May 2006.

ITU-T was mandated to work on IDN at the 2004 World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in Brazil. IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

Andrzej Bartosiewicz, representing Poland and acting as Rapporteur for IDNs said: “We have received a number of contributions in this area and have been impressed with the level of interest and the productive nature of discussions. There are a number of organizations working in the field and I believe coordination will be an important focus of any work. The upcoming workshop will be a particularly useful tool for facilitating networking between experts in the field and furthering the study in general.”

Bartosiewicz said that a webpage will be published shortly with news on ITU-T study in the area, as well as related events and technical documents. An official 'circular letter' will be sent sent to Member States he said, requesting information about their experiences on the use of IDN. Given the response to this communication SG 17 will be able to better assess the current situation and needs.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:49:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ITWeek has an article What makes IPTV such a big deal? that focuses on the recent establishment of the ITU-T IPTV Focus Group.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:19:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 01, 2006
 Friday, April 28, 2006

In a press release, the European Commission has indicated its views on follow-up to the international policy commitments made at WSIS:

To keep up the momentum of the successful World Summit on Information Society (Tunis, 16-18 November 2005), the European Commission has set out today its priorities for implementing the international policy commitments made at the Summit. These priorities include safeguarding and strengthening human rights, in particular the freedom to receive and access information. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) should be used to contribute to open democratic societies and to economic and social progress worldwide. The Commission calls for continuing international talks to improve Internet governance through the two new processes created by the Summit: the multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum and the mechanism of enhanced cooperation that will involve all governments on an equal footing.

The EC has also issued a FAQ on Internet Governance.

Friday, April 28, 2006 11:01:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 24, 2006

Looking back, 2005 saw a rise in profit-driven attacks. These were reflected by phishing, which now represents as much as one percent of the global e-mail traffic and is far more effective than spamming.

Viruses, worms, and malicious software are becoming part and parcel of information and communications technology. According to Trend Micro's report, called Virus and Spam Roundup 2005 and Predictions for 2006, this year will see more spy phishing and spear phishing on the Internet.

More information can be found here.

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:08:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Though the United States is making progress in the war on unsolicited commercial e-mail, or spam, it still generates more than any other nation in the world, according to recent statistics from Sophos, a provider of anti-malware solutions.

Sophos ranked spam outputs of the top 12 countries and top six continents based on messages it received in its “global network of spam traps” between January and March, according to the group’s release.

More information can be found here.

Monday, April 24, 2006 5:01:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) joined 29 other countries in calling for increased cooperation between nations in combating spam. The FTC signed off on a set of anti-spam recommendations by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a coalition of 30 countries organized to promote economic growth and trade.

More information about OECD activities on  countering spam can be found here.

Please clik here to read the article.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:50:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ITU will take the lead in international standardization for IPTV with the announcement that it is to form a Focus Group on IPTV (IPTV FG).

The announcement, while acknowledging that standards work is ongoing in many different places, including ITU, is a reaction to an industry call for ITU to push forward and coordinate global standardization effort in the field.

IPTV is a system where a digital television service is delivered to consumers using the Internet protocol over a broadband connection. It will help pave the way for players, many of whom are already moving to IP-based NGN infrastructure, to offer a triple-play of video, voice and data.

Standards are necessary in order to give service providers, whether traditional broadcasters, ISPs or telecoms service providers, control over their platforms and their offerings. Standards here will encourage innovation, help mask the complexity of services, guarantee QoS, ensure interoperability and ultimately help players remain competitive.

The mission of IPTV FG is to coordinate and promote the development of global IPTV standards taking into account the existing work of the ITU study groups as well as SDOs, fora and consortia. The group was launched following a decision taken at a public consultation meeting attended by around 120 experts from the world’s ICT companies. Attendees agreed that all players in the IPTV value chain will benefit from worldwide standards, that there is a lot of work to be done and that rapid progress is necessary in order to avoid market fragmentation. The Focus Group mechanism was seen as the most effective way of addressing this. Inputs to the meeting as well as a webcast can be found here.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau of ITU: "We have seen a desire to expedite and accelerate a global focus on standards for IPTV. There has been extraordinary consensus that ITU must lead this work and I am pleased that – again - ITU is seen as the right place to develop and harmonize this international standardization work, as well as identify and help fill gaps where there is still a standardization need." The FG will build upon existing work. Its scope will include architecture and requirements, QoS, security, network and control aspects, end system aspects – terminals etc., interoperability, middleware and application platforms.

Please see the ITU-T IPTV website for more information on the focus group.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:59:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 03, 2006

China’s Ministry of Information Industry has adopted the Measures for the Administration of Internet E-mails. The regulations, which took effect from 30 March 2006, are designed to apply to email service providers and apply to any person operating an email service for Internet users in Mainland China.

The regulations are as follows:

  • A provider is defined as any person in the service supply chain involved in delivering or helping users to receive email;
  • Service providers must register with the government and obtain a license before providing email services;
  • Violators face warnings or penalties of up to 30,000 yuan (approx. $3,700 US) and risk losing their license;
  • Firms are barred from sending unsolicited commercial messages without prior consent from recipients;
  • All commercial email must have a subject header of “AD” or the Chinese character for advertisement;
  • The rules only apply to email containing commercial advertisements;
  • The rules state that providers must stop delivery of any messages containing commercial advertisements even if a recipient first consents, but later changes his or her mind.

A copy of the rules (in Chinese) can be found here.

 

Monday, April 03, 2006 5:45:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Activités de l’UIT dans la Lutte contre le SPAM, PDF, Cristina Bueti, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit,21 March 2006, presented at the workshop on "Lutte contre le SPAM"(Rabat, Morocco).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 3:10:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The fight against spam, phishing and e-mail fraud should focus on economic incentives and aiding law enforcement, according to attendees at a conference examining the problem this week. Speakers at MIT's 2006 Spam Conference were notably cognizant of the recent proposals of white lists and AOL's Goodmail, a pay per e-mail service offering preferential treatment in e-mail delivery for marketers.

More information can be found here.

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 2:42:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 28, 2006

World Telecommunication Day (WTD) commemorates the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865. This year, WTD could carry added significance as 17 May has been identified by the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society as “World Information Society Day”.

While World Information Society Day is yet to be proclaimed, ITU, as the leading ICT agency of the UN system, upholds the idea and looks forward to its members to raise awareness of the role of ICT in achieving the development goals of all people.

For WTD 2006, the ITU Council chose the theme of Promoting Global Cybersecurity to highlight the serious challenges we face in ensuring the safety and security of networked information and communication systems.

In today’s interconnected and increasingly networked world, societies are vulnerable to a wide variety of threats, including deliberate attacks on critical information infrastructures with debilitating effects on our economies and on our societies. In order to safeguard our systems and infrastructure and in order to instill confidence in online trade, commerce, banking, telemedicine, e-government and a host of other applications, we need to strengthen the security practices of each and every networked country, business, and citizen, and develop a global culture of cybersecurity.

The urgency of promoting cybersecurity has been called for by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2002, the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-2004) as well as the United Nations General Assembly (resolutions 58/199, 2004, and 57/239, 2002).

Invitations to organize national programmes in the context of promoting the theme Promoting Global Cybersecurity for WTD 2006 were sent to all ITU Member States and ITU Sector Members. Sector Members represent over 647 public and private companies and organizations with an interest in telecommunications. Also in conjunction with WTD 2006, the ITU is conducting a survey of cybersecurity trust and awareness. A list of links to the related materials includes:

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 1:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Internet service providers could face huge fines if they do not provide spam filtering or impose email sending limits under new rules set down by a communications watchdog. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today registered the world's first legislative code of practice for internet and email service providers.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 1:16:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From today's Wall Street Journal Europe: How France Became A Leader in Offering Faster Broadband

"For years, France's telecommunications industry was a state-owned monopoly with one of the world's most backward broadband markets. But thanks to deregulation six years ago, French consumers have access to high-speed Internet service that is much faster and cheaper than in the U.S.

One telecom company in particular has exploited the changes and created competition in France -- a start-up called Iliad. Over 1.1 million French subscribers pay as low as €29.99 ($36) monthly for a "triple play" package called Free that includes 81 TV channels, unlimited phone calls within France and to 14 countries, and high-speed Internet. The least expensive comparable package from most cable and phone operators in the U.S. is more than $90, although more TV channels are generally included.

"We are coming into people's living rooms and changing the way they consume telecom services," says Michael Boukobza, Iliad's 28-year-old chief executive."

Key to France's success has been the active intervention of ARCEP, the French communications regulator. At last week's ITU workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, François Varloot of ARCEP presented an overview of the French marketplace and their views on emerging symmetric and asymmetric IP regulatory issues.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:32:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At a technology forum in Brussels hosted by EuroISPA - the European Internet Services Providers Association, and co-sponsored by Interpol, Neil Holloway, president, Microsoft (Europe, Middle East and Africa), inaugurated a global law enforcement campaign targeted at cybercriminals responsible for phishing attacks.

This is part of Microsoft's larger program dubbed - the Global Phishing Enforcement Initiative (GPEI), that aims at co-ordinating and expanding the company's anti-phishing efforts globally.

More information can be found here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 8:45:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 21, 2006

John McDonald, a member of the ITU team that created the new VDSL 2 standard, will participate in an upcoming Webinar on this topic, Monday 3 April 2006.

The Webinar hosted by Light Reading will look at this development and explore the significance and implications of the new standard for both operators and the enormous installed base of DSL subscribers. ITU’s new VDSL 2 standard (Very High-Speed DSL 2)(ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2) delivers up to 100 Mbit/s both up and downstream, a tenfold increase over ADSL (Asymmetric DSL). By doing so, it provides for so-called fiber-extension, bringing fiber-like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fiber optic segment of a telecom company’s network.

VDSL 2 will allow operators to compete with cable and satellite providers by offering services such as high-definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high-speed internet access, and advanced voice services, over a standard copper telephone cable. As well as addressing fast-growing consumer demand for high-speed multimedia services, VDSL 2 offers carriers a solution that is interoperable with the DSL equipment many already have in place, expediting migration of customers to new VDSL 2-based products. VDSL 2 works with both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP-based networks.

Register for the online event to learn more about VDSL 2.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 3:40:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The draft agenda (PDF) for the 23-24 March 2006 ITU Workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs is now available.


A related page of NGN Policy and Regulatory Initiatives around the globe is also available.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:21:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 09, 2006

ITU and UNESCO are organizing a Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet in Geneva from 9 - 11 May 2006.

Participation in the meeting is open to any organization or individual from ITU or UNESCO member countries. Written contributions are invited on the themes of the event and should be sent to multilingual (at) itu.int before Tuesday 25 April 2006.

The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The symposium will examine issues highlighted in paragraph 53 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda, including:

  1. Options for advancing the process for the introduction of multilingualism in a number of areas including domain names, email addresses and keyword look-up; 
  2. Options for implementing programmes, also in cooperation with other appropriate organizations, that allow for the presence of multilingual domain names and content on the internet and the use of various software models in order to fight against the linguistic digital divide and ensure the participation of all in the emerging new society;
  3. Options for strengthening cooperation between relevant bodies for the further development of technical standards and to foster their global deployment; In addition, the event will review technical solutions and current experiences, identify open issues and discuss a roadmap for further steps in the direction of promoting internet multilingualism.

The draft agenda of the symposium, background information and other information are available on the event website.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 11:14:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Including data from some of the world's largest Internet Service Providers, MAAWG (Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group) has developed its first metrics report outlining the scope of the problem and validating that approximately 85 percent of Internet traffic today is abusive email.

The report, "MAAWG Email Metrics Program: The Network Operators' Perspective," provides data for the fourth quarter of 2005 and will continue to be updated on a quarterly basis as an objective tool for tracking the industry's efforts at controlling abusive email.

For more information, please click here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 9:45:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Efforts by governments to counter internet spam by tracking down and prosecuting spammers have had limited impact and require far more resources than most countries can muster, the United Nations telecoms agency (ITU) warned on Tuesday.

It says in a report that while all countries need anti-spam legislation so that spammers have nowhere to hide, a more effective approach would be to require the establishment of enforceable codes of conduct by internet service providers (ISPs).

For more information about the article, please click here.

For more information about the report "Stemming the International Tide of Spam", please click here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 3:20:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, March 04, 2006

According to a press release from the UN, the UN Secretary-General has decided to establish a small Secretariat in Geneva to assist in the convening of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).  The Secretary-General was asked by the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis in November, to convene such a Forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue.

Nitin Desai, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Summit, held open consultations on 16 and 17 February in Geneva aimed at reaching a common understanding on how the Forum should function.  Those discussions produced a consensus that the IGF should have a strong development orientation.  It was also felt that the Forum should be open and inclusive, and allow for the participation of all interested stakeholders with proven expertise and experience in Internet-related matters.

The Secretariat will be headed by Markus Kummer, who has been the Executive Coordinator of the Secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance, which was established by the Secretary-General at the request of the first phase of the Summit, in Geneva in 2003.  The first meeting of the Forum is expected to take place later this year in Athens, Greece from October 30 - November 2 2006.

On a separate issue, the Secretary-General has also decided to ask Mr. Desai to consult informally on how to start a process aimed at enhancing cooperation on international public policy issues related to the Internet.  The Summit had requested the Secretary-General to start such a process in paragraphs 69-71 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.

Saturday, March 04, 2006 9:14:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 01, 2006

IPDR.org hosted an event last week to take a focused look at IPTV accounting and settlement. The event objectives included:

  • Understanding the requirements for IPTV accounting
  • Summarizing challenges associated with all network data related aspects of IPTV such as advertising, content settlement, user behavior, capacity management, multimedia events, and other IPTV service components
  • Developing technical specifications to address the needs of IPTV overall accounting and settlement
  • Creating an industry wide task force comprised of leaders and contributors

IPDR plans to submit protocols to international groups such as the ITU and 3GPP for adoption as industry standards, according to Kelly Anderson, President of IPDR.org. Her group is working especially closely with the IPTV Interoperability Forum of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Solutions (ATIS), represented at the meeting. ATIS and IPDR said last week that the American National Standards Group had approved as an American national standard for trial use a generic IPDR specification for billing applications for packet-based services on which ATIS had collaborated.

The presentations made at the event are available.

The Director of the TSB is holding a consultation meeting on IPTV standardization on April 4-5 2006.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 11:44:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published comments received on its recent consultation paper on Issues pertaining to Next Generation Networks (NGN) released in January 2006. Also see accompanying Press Release.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit is hosting a workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? in March 2006. The ITU also has a website on related national, regional and international policy and regulatory initiatives.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:50:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 13, 2006

The ITU is hosting a workshop on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) from 14-15 February 2006, bringing the spotlight on the emergence of a so-called "Internet of Things", enabling ubiquitous network connectivity, anytime and anywhere. The agenda and an accompanying press release are available.

Update: The workshop is being audiocast live and archived.

Monday, February 13, 2006 11:23:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 10, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006 9:13:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Via the ITU-T Newslog comes news that a Recommendation consented at the January meeting of Study Group 13 allows enterprises to convert multiple voice streams or VoIP flows to IP packets, enabling them to be trunked to their destination over a packet switched infrastructure, rather than dedicated circuit-switched infrastructure. Rec Y.1452 gives the required functions and procedures necessary for support of multiplexed narrowband voice services by IP networks. It specifies the required protocols and the operation of the interworking function.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 10:34:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 06, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news on a new ITU-T standard (ITU-T Recommendation, Y.1731) which will allow operators offering Ethernet services to use OAM (operations, administration, and maintenance) mechanisms to facilitate network operation and troubleshooting.

Recommendation Y.1713 gives user-plane OAM functionality in Ethernet networks. The architectural basis for this Recommendation is the Ethernet specification G.8010. A previous Recommendation Y.1730 served as a prelude to Y.1731 outlining the OAM requirements of operators. Joncour says that Y.1731 was developed in close collaboration with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) group 802.1. This group is also preparing a standard (802.1ag - Connectivity Fault Management) devoted to Ethernet OAM aspects. IEEE 802.1ag defines a subset of the functions/PDUs described in Y.1731. Regular communications between the two groups ensured alignment of the description of the common features.

Monday, February 06, 2006 10:36:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, February 04, 2006
The Country Code Country Code 1 ENUM LLC has issued a press release on the formation of a committee to coordinate testing activities among participants in its upcoming US ENUM trial. The first meeting of this committee, to be known as the LLC's Trial Participants Advisory Committee (TPAC), will take place in Richardson, Texas, on February 21, 2006. Companies who have an interest in participating inthe trial should plan on attending this meeting. Meeting details will beposted on the LLC's web site.
Saturday, February 04, 2006 6:45:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 03, 2006

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation document on the impact of transition to NGNs (also see press release). TRAI will be conducting open house discussions in Delhi and Bangalore on the NGN consultation paper as well as the recent consultation on convergence and competition.

Friday, February 03, 2006 5:03:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 30, 2006

The French telecommunications regulator, ARCEP has published a study (in French) by OVUM on the impact of the deployment of NGNs, migration scenarios as well as the possible impact on regulation.

Monday, January 30, 2006 6:25:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 27, 2006

If you missed the recent ITU-T web-based seminar (webinar) on NGN you may be interested to know that the whole thing including slides, audio and the question and answer session is available in Light Reading’s archive. Nearly 400 people attended the live event on 23 January, submitting close to 100 questions to the speakers. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:47:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 26, 2006

Richard Stastny on his blog VoIP and ENUM brings news that the German ccTLD manager, DENIC has announced in a press release that the responsible ministry (Wirtschaftsministerium) has accepted the proposals from DENIC regarding ENUM operation and production is starting immediately.

DENIC's enum pages are available here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:35:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog is announcing the first release of an ICT Security Standards Roadmap developed to assist in the development of security standards by bringing together information about existing standards and current standards work in key standards development organizations. The Roadmap is a work in progress,

The Roadmap is in four parts:

  • Part 1: ICT Standards Development Organizations and Their Work

    Part 1 contains information about the Roadmap structure and about each of the listed standards organizations, their structure and the security standards work being undertaken. In addition it contains information on terminology by providing links to existing security glossaries and vocabularies.

  • Part 2: Approved ICT Security Standards

    Part 2 contains a summary catalogue of approved standards.

  • Part 3: Security standards under development

    Part 3 is structured with the same taxonomy as Part 2 but contains work in progress, rather than standards that have already been approved and published. Part 3 will also contain information on inter-relationships between groups undertaking the work and on potential overlaps between existing projects.

  • Part 4: Future needs and proposed new security standards

    Part 4 is intended to capture possible future areas of security standards work where gaps or needs have been identified as well as areas where proposals have been made for specific new standards work.

It is hoped that standards organizations whose work is not represented in this version of the Roadmap will provide information to ITU-T about their work so that it may be included in future editions. In the near future provision will be made to allow each organization to manage its own data within the Roadmap.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5:41:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ITU Press Release: World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006 to agree on telecommunication development priorities to bridge the digital divide

Geneva, 24 January 2006 - The first world development conference following the landmark World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is due to open in six weeks in Doha, Qatar.

The purpose of the conference is to focus on development priorities in telecommunications and agree on the programmes, projects and initiatives to implement them. It will take into account the WSIS Geneva Plan of Action and Tunis Agenda, which aim at bridging the digital divide. A key objective is to promote international cooperation, regional initiatives and partnerships that can sustain and strengthen telecommunication infrastructure and institutions in developing countries. The Doha Action Plan will set out ways to implement these goals over the next four years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:35:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:20:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the 18 November 2005 Newsletter of Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, they have decided to set up a “Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP", with the aim of laying out basic principles on a framework for competition rules applicable as well as clarifying specific directions concerning interconnection and tariff policies.

In other news, Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has recently announced (Japanese) that they have established a IP-based Next Generation Network promotion forum. About 190 entities are participating in the newly established forum which will feed into ITU's work on NGNs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:15:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 23, 2006

In preparation for an upcoming ITU workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, to be held 23-24 March 2006 at ITU (see workshop concept document), an ITU NGN Policy and Regulatory site is now available and under development.

The new site contains links to the workshop and other resources as well as the most recent NGN-related news from the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit and the ITU-T.

Monday, January 23, 2006 9:42:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An entry on Richard Stastny's blog (VoIP and ENUM) points to a number of interesting presentations made at an ERO hosted event on scenarios for NGN naming, numbering and addressing, interconnection and QoS.

Monday, January 23, 2006 1:33:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 18, 2006

James Seng takes a look at IPTV, its hardware requirements, the value proposition for IP-enabled NGN players, and why he is excited about P2P IPTV which he says can be traced back "to an academic paper called Coolstreaming (see also Wikipedia) published about a year ago (the authors of the paper is rumored to be funded by Softbank after the publication). The release of their python code no doubt spurred the the creation of PPLive, Sopcast and Cybersky."

As several presentations in this FGNGN document show, there is a recognition to bring IPTV into ITU's future work on NGN standardization. The US-based ATIS has already formed the IPTV Interoperability Forum which is part of their NGN standardization activities.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:40:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 17, 2006

According to the ITU-T NGN web portal, the ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) proceeding are now available:

Additional background on the proceedings

ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) was created under ITU-T Study Group 13 in June 2004 to address the emerging needs for global standards for Next Generation Networks (NGN). FGNGN was made-up of seven working groups:

  • Services and capabilities
  • Functional architecture and requirements
  • Quality of service (QoS)
  • Control aspects
  • Security issues
  • Migration of current networks into NGN
  • Future packet based network requirements

During the 18-month life-time of FGNGN, nine meetings were organized, with more than 1,200 input documents and 1,400 participants. FGNGN deliverables cover all those seven fundamental framework areas of NGN. Its final output was a total of 30 documents that will be transferred to the relevant ITU-T Study Groups for their further consideration. Deliverables are classified by release concept. Proceedings contain the deliverables, each with its status indication. The proceedings are now available freely in two parts:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:44:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Another take on marketing the Internet of Things (via IP). The source can be found here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:55:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 16, 2006

Announcements on the ITU-T Newslog include:

  • ITU-T in cooperation with Light Reading is organizing an NGN Free Online Seminar on January 23 2006. The event will be hosted by Light Reading and feature key players in ITU’s work on NGN. For further information, see this announcement.
  • An NGN Technology and Standardization workshop sponsored by ITU-T and the US Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA from 19 to 20 March 2006 in conjunction with the TelecomNEXT event. For more details, see this announcement.
Monday, January 16, 2006 2:38:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 06, 2006

Light Reading is reporting that some of the best-known names in the VOIP peering business including VeriSign Inc., XConnect Global Networks Ltd., Arbinet-thexchange Inc., NeuStar Inc., Stealth Communications Inc., and InfiniRoute Networks Inc.  have replied to CableLabs' request for information (RFI) for technologies to enable cable operators to share Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic directly over their IP networks; otherwise known as VoIP Peering. The original RFI can be found here.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:54:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Asia-Pacific maintains its lead in providing the best broadband bargains to be found worldwide. The latest ITU research comparing international prices for broadband access confirms that the three cheapest broadband economies are in Asia, with Japan still the cheapest at just 7 U.S. cents per 100 kbit/s followed by Korea. Both Japan and Korea offer the highest speeds for the cheapest prices per 100 kbit/s.

Prices among the cheapest fifteen broadband economies continued to fall and nearly halved, falling by 46.6 per cent from 2004-2005. Other countries are following Asia’s lead in bargain-value pricing. In 2004, just five economies offered broadband access under 1 USD per 100 kbit/s (which included four from Asia). In 2005, eleven economies offered cut-price access, including six from Europe. The good news for operators is that such pricing strategies seem to build market share. Eleven of the fifteen cheapest economies also rank in the fifteen economies with the highest broadband penetration. This implies that operators are successfully winning customers through cheaper pricing plans. Whether strong market shares can be translated into profit is another question, however. Bargain-value pricing builds subscriber bases at the expense of profit margins, which are likely to be eroded.

Source: ITU research, based on data available in the Statistical Annex to ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things, November 2005.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:43:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 23, 2005

The European Regional Seminar on Regulatory and Economic Aspects of VoIP and Broadband Promotion for Central Eastern European countries (CEE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic States took place from the 29 to 30 November 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey. The agenda and presentations made at the meeting are available.

Friday, December 23, 2005 1:45:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ITU-T Study Group 2 has approved at its December 2005 meeting, ITU-T Recommendation E.910: Procedures for Registration with the Domain ".int". This Recommendation clarifies the principles and procedures for the registration of names under the Internet top-level domain ".int" and the process by which qualified international organizations can register for domain names under ".int".

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 4:20:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Net's basic flaws cost firms billions, impede innovation, and threaten national security. It's time for a clean-slate approach, says MIT's Dave Clark. This article, the cover story in Technology Review’s December 2005/January 2006 print issue, is divided into three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. [via James Seng]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 9:34:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The internet as we know it is set to transform radically, according to a new ITU Internet Report entitled The Internet of Things, specially prepared to coincide with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in November 2005. From an academic network for the chosen few created in the late 1960s, the internet is now a mass-market, consumer-oriented network being accessed by over 900 million people worldwide, through personal computers, mobile phones and other wireless devices. But this is only the beginning. According to ITU’s report, we are standing on the brink of a new ubiquitous computing and communication era, one that will radically transform the Internet, and with it, our corporate, community, and personal spheres. The new ITU report looks at key enabling technologies for ubiquity (e.g. RFID, sensors and sensor networks, telematics, robotics, nanotechnology) and how they might impact the future human and technological landscape.

At WSIS, the report was launched at a Press Conference and Panel Debate moderated by Kenn Cukier of The Economist. The lively debate included the following speakers and panelists: Nicholas Negroponte - MIT Media Lab, Olivier Baujard - CTO of Alcatel, Hitomi Murakami - VP General Manager of KDDI (Japan), Jonathan Murray - VP and CTO, Microsoft EMEA, Walid Moneimne, Senior VP and Head of EMEA Networks - Nokia, John Gage, Chief Researcher and Director of the Science Office - Sun Microsystems, and from the ITU, Lara Srivastava, lead author of the report.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 4:59:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 21, 2005

LightReading has an article on the recent NGN Industry Event in London on 18 November 2005, where ITU unveiled Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T's Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN). The event also outlined the next phase of NGN work to be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). In the presentation (Zipped PowerPoint) by BT Group Technology Officer Mick Reeve:

"...the world's telecom standards groups are, at last, all singing from the same song sheet with their work on next-generation network (NGN) standards.

"Addressing an International Telecommunication Union meeting in London today, Reeve, a key figure in the development of BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), praised the ITU for its role in bringing together the work of many different groups around the world and delivering a unified vision of what an NGN should look like and deliver. (See BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers, Bross: More to Come on 21CN, and Wales to Get 21CN First.)

"The ITU has done a great job in finding a global agreement on NGNs. There's a high level of agreement globally about NGN principles" that has helped deliver an "overall architecture for next generation networks and systems, something that has been unheard of before now," says the BT man. He cited the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), TeleManagement Forum, and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) as organizations that have helped in the ITU's work."  

Other presentations made at the event can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2005 10:44:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2005

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by Tracy Cohen, Olli Mattila and Russel Southwood, entitled VoIP and Regulation, which will be presented at the GSR:

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is generally viewed as a “disruptive technology”. All the current market indications show that IP networks and services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace traditional PSTN networks and services. ITU estimates that by 2008, at least 50 percent of international minutes will be carried on IP networks and that many carriers will have all-IP networks. Recent trends are certainly headed in this direction. For example, in the United States, residential VoIP subscriber numbers have increased from 150,000 at the end of 2003 to over 2 million in March 2005. It is predicted that subscribers in the US will exceed 4.1 million by 2006, generating over USD 1 billion in gross revenues for the year. In March 2005, the Chilean broadband operator VTR launched the first telecommunication network for residential services based on IP technology. The operator expects to expand its platform and reach 2 million customers in five years. There are approximately 35,000 residential telephones that use IP technology in Chile, either through Chilean operators or through Vonage...

This paper examines how VoIP services will affect future regulation. Due to the starkly contrasting global perceptions of VoIP however, it is difficult to present a unified approach to regulatory treatment of VoIP and this paper aims to reflect regulatory experiences from a wide range of countries that are grappling with the transition to VoIP. The three sections of this paper are structured to answer both the broad and specific questions raised by VoIP services, including the overall approach to regulating VoIP as a mainstream service; how VoIP has changed voice business models and the various ways of classifying the services it has created; and finally, other related issues frequently raised in connection with VoIP, such as quality of service; network integrity; emergency calling, numbering, communication security and lawful interception.

Monday, November 07, 2005 11:23:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, November 06, 2005

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by John Palfrey entitled Stemming the International Tide of Spam: a Draft Model Law, which will be presented at the GSR:

This discussion paper primarily takes up the question of what – beyond coordinating with technologists and other countries’ enforcement teams and educating consumers – legislators and regulators might consider by way of legal mechanisms. First, the paper takes up the elements that might be included in an anti-spam law. Second, the paper explores one alternative legal mechanism which might be built into an anti-spam strategy, the establishment of enforceable codes of conduct for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Third, this paper also examines a variant of the legal approach where ISPs are formally encouraged by regulators to develop their own code of conduct. ISPs should be encouraged to establish and enforce narrowly-drawn codes of conduct that prohibit their users from using that ISP as a source for spamming and related bad acts, such as spoofing and phishing, and not to enter into peering arrangements with ISPs that do not uphold similar codes of conduct. Rather than continue to rely upon chasing individual spammers, regulators in the most resource-constrained countries in particular would be more likely to succeed by working with and through the ISPs that are closer to the source of the problem, to their customers, and to the technology in question. The regulator’s job would be to ensure that ISPs within their jurisdiction adopt adequate codes of conduct as a condition of their operating license and then to enforce adherence to those codes of conduct. The regulator can also play a role in sharing best practices among ISPs and making consumers aware of the good works of the best ISPs. While effectively just shifting the burden of some of the anti-spam enforcement to ISPs is not without clear drawbacks, and cannot alone succeed in stemming the tide of spam, such a policy has a far higher likelihood of success in the developing countries context than the anti-spam enforcement tactics employed to date.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 3:19:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 01, 2005

James Seng's blog points to a recent paper published in the Internet Protocol Journal by Tony Hain regarding IPv4 allocation exhaust and references another recent paper by Geoff Huston on the same topic.

To this can be added a recent presentation by K. Claffy at ARIN entitled apocalypse then: ipv4 address space depletion:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 4:22:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 31, 2005

According to the ITU-T Newslog, a roadmap identifying NGN management specifications has been published on the ITU-T SG 4 website.

Monday, October 31, 2005 2:02:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on work in ITU’s Study Group 17 work on Relayed Multicast Protocol (RMCP), that uses a peer-to-peer type model. RMCP allows the live broadcast of video or audio piggy-backing off other users (or servers). So in a scenario where 100 people are demanding a live broadcast, instead of serving each one of these clients their own video stream, only one stream has to be provided and each user will be served from another in the network. This has significant implications for instance for businesses broadcasting live events, where a previous scenario demanded 100 users be fed individual feeds, RMCP allows the broadcast of just one.

ITU-T has published one Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. X.603) on the topic outlining requirements, framework etc. The next two Recommendations due in 2006 will focus on the technical specifications. One focusing on one broadcaster to many clients, and the other on many broadcasters to many clients.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:47:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a detailed post on the recent home networking workshop and related ITU-T home networking standards. The event, held at ITU 13-14 October 2005 met concurrently was the Home Networking-Joint Coordination Activity (HN-JCA), a group of ITU-T experts aiming to coordinate standardization effort on home networking across ITU-T Study Groups.

The high quality and breadth of the contributions resulted in a wealth of material much of which is not available anywhere else in the world, according to the event’s steering committee chair Charlie Sandbank. Because of time constraints not all this material could be presented at the workshop but it is now available, including the key conclusions, at the workshop website.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:46:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on ITU's standards work on large screen digital imagery (LSDI), a family of digital imagery systems that includes very large screen presentation of programmes similar to the non-digital IMAX and OMNIMAX systems. LSDI is described as an optimal approach to the presentation of high-definition television (HDTV) programmes, to a collective audience on cinema-like screens in a cinema-like environment.

An ITU-T Recommendation defines how "super HDTV" images – up to four times the quality of standard HDTV - can be delivered to cinema-like venues, bypassing traditional distribution methods. It defines transport technologies for LSDI with resolutions 3840 x 2160 and 7680 x 4320 pixels.

Monday, October 31, 2005 9:42:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 28, 2005

This recent presentation What2what (was end2end): the future of the Internet by Scott Bradner discusses the disappearing end-to-end nature of the Internet and the reasons, evolution to NGN, as well as his views on how innovation may slow down.

Friday, October 28, 2005 8:29:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Warren New's Washington Internet Daily is reporting on the recent ITU-T Study Group 17 meeting activities that related to IDN and countering spam: 

Facilitating internationalized domain names and new measures to counter spam via technical means are part of an ITU push to meet member states' demands for more security standardization.

Last Oct.'s World Telecom Standardization Assembly in Brazil added 2 work items to the agenda of the group, called ITU-T SG-17: The first is to study IDNs, which raise a major security issue because "some national characters can make a user think he is going to one place, but really going to another place," said Herbert Bertine of Lucent, chmn. of SG-17: "We are looking to make sure that when you use internationalized domain names, the possibility that users can be confused, misdirected," will be reduced.

"The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not yet represented in ASCII characters," documents said. Andrzej Bartosiewicz, head of the DNS Div. at Poland's NASK has been named the group's reporting member on IDNs. The SG will assess ITU members' needs in light of existing standards, he said.

SG-17 has seen "an enormous increase [of work] in the area of security," said Bertine. SG-17 published 5 security recommendations in the last 4-year study period, which ended late in 2004. Bertine said the SG may produce 15-20 during the next period, but said much of the work is in its infancy.

Countering spam by technical means is a new security area for SG-17. Spam has policy, regulatory, legal and technical aspects, but the SG will address the technical side of spam fighting. "A lot of work has been done by IETF," said Bertine. "There's a lot of [standards] material out there. We don't want to duplicate work. We want to leverage and reference" what's other standards bodies have done and fill gaps, said Bertine, "but we have a lot of countries -- particularly developing countries -- who are really looking for the ITU to provide this information."

How spammers do what they do is under consideration; but more important is that spam is not only unwanted e- mail but now a vehicle for viruses and other malware, said Bertine.

SG 17 is working with the ISO/IEC (the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission) on new to be designated as the 27,000 series and dealing with information security management systems, officials said. Bertine thinks the new series will result in companies finding that "it's in their best interest to be certified, whether it means better insurance rates, less liability because you can claim conformance... plus the most fundamental, if you've got vulnerabilities, you sure want to catch them because it's going to cost you a pile of money if somebody discovers a major weakness."

"The field of information technology and the field of communications continue to overlap and merge more and more every year. That's why collaboration is so important," said Bertine.

At this meeting it was also decide to adopt OASIS' Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) into ITU-T standards.

A list of documents from the last meeting of SG-17 is available here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 8:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 20, 2005

NTT Docomo has announced a new 3G handset that can receive S-band satellite broadcasting. Korea has also deployed what it calls Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) to handsets in its native market. The definition of DMB according to a proposal from Korea to the ITU Standardization Sector to include DMB in the reference architecture for NGN Release 2 efforts is:

DMB Service is the next generation digital broadcasting service for indoor and outdoor users. The DMB users can enjoy CD quality stereo audio services and real-time video/data streaming services anywhere while moving at the speed of up to 200 km/h. ...There are two kinds of DMB services, terrestrial DMB and satellite DMB.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:38:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 14, 2005

Home Networking is the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems). And given the wide range of previously unrelated technologies involved, standards that allow for interoperability are seen as key to the successful marketing of the concept.

Now taking place at the ITU is a workshop on Opportunities and Challenges in Home Networking. The event is organized by ITU-T Study Group 9, in cooperation with several other ITU-T study groups and various organizations outside of ITU. It follows the Workshop on Home Networking and Home Services held 17-18 June 2004, Tokyo.

Study Group 9 has been working on standardization in home networking systems for more than four years. It has already approved three ITU-T Recommendations in the field, particularly dealing with IP-based multimedia services over cable networks. A current focus is a new Recommendation that will specify ways to bridge conditional access systems (that ensure payment in pay TV for example) to digital rights management (DRM) systems, an important step toward smooth operation of fully integrated home networking.

This workshop will bring together experts from all over the world who are pushing forward the frontiers of this fast-moving field. It will provide an overview of the technology as well as an examination of standards that address access, services, performance, Quality of Service, electromagnetic interference and security issues. The workshop will deal with current technology and future trends to provide a framework for moving forward standardization work. Attention will be given to both the technology and service aspects of this new technology.

The programme can be found here with links to the presentations. Highlights include:

  • Worldwide Status of Home Networking
  • Home Network Architecture and Technologies (including an update on UPnP and DLNA)
  • Home Networking Services and Business Models
  • Security and Digital Rights Management
  • Quality of Service in the Home Network
  • Electromagnetic Interference in the Home Environment
  • The Home Networking Future: Efforts and Challenges
Friday, October 14, 2005 10:13:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 13, 2005

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley regional authority, organized a Workshop on “Tomorrow’s Network Today” on 7-8 October 2005.

The workshop considered five broad themes:

• International Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• National Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• Creating an Enabling Environment
• The Italian Path Towards Ubiquitous Networks
• An example of Italian best practice: "Being Digital in the Aosta Valley"

Now available on the workshop website  are the agenda, with links to presentations as they were delivered and the two Case Studies on Italy – “Bridging the Gap: Taking Tomorrow’s Network Today” presented by Marco Obiso and “Ubiquitous Networks Societies: The Case of Italy” presented by Cristina Bueti - as well as background papers and voluntary contributions produced for the workshop.

During the event, Tim Kelly, Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU) presented “Tomorrow’s Network and the Internet of Things”, showing some of the outcomes of the forthcoming ITU Internet Reports publication that this year will be dedicated to the theme of the “Internet of Things “.

A final report of the workshop will be available in the next few weeks at the workshop website.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:46:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Countering Spam, PDF, Cristina Bueti, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, 11 October 2005, presented to ITU-T Study Group 17 Meeting (Geneva, Switzerland).

Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:48:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Update: The ITU-T Newslog has a related article entitled ITU powers the iPod Generation.

Nice to see Apple's new iPod supporting the ITU-T H.264 video codec which came out of work in the Joint Video Team. Or as it is referred to in ITU-T official related standards (which are called Recommendations):

Congratulations to the JVT team for producing an incredibly efficient codec for both streaming and stored formats.

H.264 is "no doubt the best codec there is, offering a great coding efficiency," Tim Schaaff, vice president of the interactive-media group at Apple Computer Inc., said at IBC last week.

More from the ITU-T's News Flash in 2004: Video Codec's March Continues

Following the news that H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding) has been adopted for use in next generation high definition DVDs, the codec's popularity seems to be growing daily. Recent reports have shown a raft of companies announcing deployment plans and demos at industry events.

The video compression standard (full name H.264 or MPEG-4 pt.10/ AVC) jointly developed by ITU-T and the Moving Picture Experts Group (
MPEG) is now being deployed in products from companies including Apple, Sony, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Tandberg and Toshiba.

"Apple is firmly behind H.264 because it delivers superb quality digital video and is based on open standards that no single company controls," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing in a company press release.

Apple’s website describes H.264: "This ultra-efficient, fully scalable video technology produces higher quality video at lower data rates for everything from 3G to HD."

Reports from the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas say that there were dozens of announcements and demonstrations of H.264.

H.264/AVC is the first truly scalable video codec, delivering excellent quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum - from high definition television to videoconferencing and 3G mobile multimedia. The dramatically increased compression performance of H.264 will enable existing applications like videoconferencing, streaming video over the Internet, and digital television on satellite and cable to offer better quality video at lower cost. It will also allow new video applications such as High-Definition TV on DVD, video on mobile phones, and videoconferencing over low bandwidth connections that were previously impractical because of economics or technology.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:36:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 11, 2005

News from the wonderful world of the directories (PowerPoint) presented to ITU-T Study Group 17 by Erik Andersen, Denmark gives an update on:

  • X.500/LDAP X.500 enhancements
    • Concept of Friends
    • Attributes
    • Paging on the DSP
    • Maximum alignment with LDAP
    • Enhancements to Public-key and Attribute certificates
  • Enhancements to ITU-T Rec. E.115 (2005) Computerized Directory Assistance 
    • OSI stack removed
    • Home grown TCP/IP support integrated in text
    • Specifies two versions of the protocol
    • Version 1:
      • The 1995 edition + all agreed extensions
      • All keywords specified in Annex
      • Complete rewrite and restructuring of 1995 edition
      • Added clarifications ASN.1 BER encoding
      • Support mandatory
    • Version 2:
      • Keywords replaced by new fields – keyword concept no longer used
      • Several new enhancements
      • ASN.1 BER and XML (or ASN.1 XER) encoding
      • Future extensions using ITU-T procedure
Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:50:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 07, 2005

Promoting Global Cybersecurity, PDF, Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, 6 October 2005, presented to ITU-T Study Group 17 Meeting (Geneva, Switzerland)

Friday, October 07, 2005 10:10:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ITU, together with sponsors BT, Cisco, Motorola, Nortel and Siemens, is holding a one day event to mark a new milestone in ITU’s work on next-generation networks (NGN). The event will present an overview of NGN work so far, details on future directions, and some of the key business drivers for NGN. In addition to announcing completion of work on the Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T’s Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN), the event will communicate the next phase of NGN work, dubbed the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Press are invited to attend for the whole day, specific sessions or just for lunch, which will be preceded by a panel session. There will also be opportunities for one-on-one interviews with key NGN players from the world’s leading telcos and systems vendors.

For more details click here.

Operators from around the globe are implementing NGN strategies and plan to invest billions of dollars in the rollout of new packet-based networks. Their involvement in global standards-making stimulates innovation and more robust technology, fosters interoperability and multi-vendor product offerings, and protects current and future investment.

The operators, systems vendors and governments driving this standardization work believe NGN will deliver substantial cost savings through the economies of scale inherent in a single converged network. They believe international standards will facilitate an open market for systems, lowering costs and providing for mix-and-match implementation and global interoperability. NGN will benefit consumers through innovative new services, greater control and personalization, ease of migration between services, and continuity for existing services.

The event is aimed at professionals involved in product planning and service creation for systems vendors and service providers.

A limited number of places will be made available for journalists. Journalists interested in attending should contact ITU’s Toby Johnson.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 11:38:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Update on ITU and WSIS Activities Related to Spam and Cybersecurity (PDF) presented at OECD Spam Task Force Meeting, Paris, France on 3 October 2005, Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 3:32:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Network World has an article on the evolution of IP-based networks that notes there are divergent views among standards bodies such as the ITU and the IETF, on the future evolution of the internet.

"The current Internet model is the stupid network model, where the network doesn't know what applications you're running and doesn't try to be helpful," he says. "The ITU's model [is] where the network is application-aware and can provide specific extra support for a particular application, such as VoIP. That session will compare what their strengths and weaknesses are, and hopefully out of it we can get some idea of what the future is going to look like."

Bradner says the ITU's model is designed to provide defined and guaranteed QoS, while the Internet is a best-effort model based on bandwidth capacity. He says both are applicable given the network circumstances - if there's plenty of bandwidth, there's no need for QoS controls; if not, there is.

The future of the 'Net could be shaped in large part by the need to support peer-to-peer applications and Web-based services, which use peer-to-peer protocols. This type of traffic is growing in use and importance in enterprise networks and on the 'Net, especially as companies move to SOAs designed to support peer-to-peer and message-based transmissions.

Are we heading for a future of dumb or smart networks? This recent piece in BCR Magazine on Making Networks Smart suggests that industry players on both the network side (e.g., Cisco and Juniper) and applications side (e.g., Microsoft, IBM, Sun, BEA) are making moves in the latter direction. Initiatives like the IPSphere Forum suggest that both the equipment manufacturers and the major service providers are on the same strategy:

The goal of the IPsphere forum is to create an industry call to action to create public networks that combine the reach of the Internet with the assured performance and security of a private network. This new approach is designed to overcome the current limitations of the Internet through the creation of "IPspheres," delivering an enriched experience for consumers, business-critical performance, and opening new markets for service providers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:42:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 26, 2005

To further encourage the development of a ubiquitous network society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley are hosting a Workshop on "Tomorrow's Network Today" that will be held in Saint-Vincent (Aosta), Italy on 7-8 October 2005.

This Workshop will discuss specific measures to help overcome potential challenges and determine possible future actions.

One session will be dedicated to Next Generation Networks (NGN) as a framework to harmonize the worldwide technical and functional basis needed to extend the use of integrated ICTs to as many users as possible.

During the workshop there will be an Exhibition which will bring together a wide range of leading industry participants as well as high-level representatives from government and regulators.

Click here for more information about the event.

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:46:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 22, 2005

A circular letter (Word) from the Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector's Bureau provides an update on structure of ITU's future NGN standardization activites. The Focus Group on NGN (FGNGN) will have its final meeting on 14-18 November 2005 and it has been agreed that further work on NGN will be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) involving, in addition to NGN related Rapporteur Groups of Study Groups 11, 13 and 19, those from Study Groups 12, 15, 16 and other Study Groups as appropriate.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:53:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Richard Stastny's blog has post on a panel session at VON on the future of numbering in the context of IP where he states the highlight of the session was a statement from John Klensin that "ENUM is dead, the window is closed".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 8:33:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the recent meeting of Study Group 11 a number of documents relating to the international emergency preference scheme (IEPS) were consented. IEPS aims to provide authorised emergency personnel a higher probability of successful communication under high network load conditions such as those that might occur in an emergency.

Among the topics dealt with at the meeting were signalling for support of IEPS to comply with ITU-T Recommendation E.106. E.106 provides guidelines for extending national emergency preference schemes across international boundaries. Because Recommendations in this area have potential national and regulatory policy implications, it was agreed to consider the documents under the traditional approval process (TAP) rather than under the alternative approval process (AAP). 

ITU maintains a webpage detailing its work in the area of Emergency Telecommunications.

Via ITU-T Newslog

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 11:20:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 15, 2005

ITU-T, in collaboration with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (EU IPv6 TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum, organized an IPv6 workshop at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, June 22-23, 2005.

A final report of the workshop is now available on the workshop website.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:09:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Country Code 1 ENUM Limited Liability Company has published a letter (PDF) from the US State Department concerning the terms and conditions for the US government to approve the delegation of the +1 country code for ENUM trials.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 3:17:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

September has got off to a flying start as far as Next-Generation Networks (NGN) work in ITU is concerned. The important milestone of the Release 1 set of standards is on track for November (2005) and sufficient momentum has been achieved to ensure that the next stages of NGN work will be carried out with similar efficiency.

The continuation of the NGN study by ITU will be re-branded the NGN-Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Houlin Zhao, Director of TSB, ITU-T's secretariat said: "I am very pleased with the progress and the results achieved by the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN ). These first results will provide the building blocks on which the world's systems vendors and service providers can start to make this monumental shift to NGN. We have the momentum, the tools and the will to continue this significant and important work."

Agreement on a future plan is clear and the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN) has been putting the finishing touches to Release 1 before formally submitting it into the Study Group system.

The FGNGN met in Geneva 24 August - 2 September alongside meetings of Study Groups 11 , 13 and 19 (2005), themselves all having elements of NGN work. Each FGNGN meeting has seen increased participation and contributions according to management.

The group chaired by Chae-Sub Lee of Korea is expecting to see completion of its Release 1 set of standards, at its November 2005 meeting in London, UK. A one day briefing session following that meeting will serve as an overview of the work, as well as an opportunity to promote future direction and business drivers.

The first draft of an allocation table for the distribution of work following the November meeting was also agreed. This type of activity as well as the development of a prototype project management tool, is seen as important in order to keep NGN work, that cuts across the study groups, aligned, coherent and consistent.

According to FGNGN chairman Lee, an important focus of the work at this Geneva meeting are the quality of service (QoS) aspects that will allow - for example - services like IPTV to be offered with the same broadcast quality as traditional TV. The Focus Group expects that there will be more than ten deliverables on QoS that will be submitted into the Study Group system for approval as ITU-T products such as Recommendations. Additionally the topic of fixed-mobile convergence saw much discussion in the meeting according to Lee.

FGNGN also saw the document that describes the scope for NGN standards in ITU reaching near maturity, an important step, according to meeting insiders. The document that gives an overview of what Release 1 is expected to cover in terms of services, capabilities and high level objectives was described in the meeting's report as 'very stable'. Additionally much progress was made on another crucial document describing Release 1 requirements.

Via ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:56:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Leaders from the leading national and regional telecommunications and radio standards organizations and a delegation from ITU consisting of both high-level secretariat staff and Study Group chairs met 28 August - 2 September, at The Tenth Global Standards Collaboration meeting (GSC-10).

The mission of the GSC is to exchange information between participating standards organizations to facilitate collaboration and to support the process of global telecommunication standardization in the ITU. The event was hosted by ETSI in Sophia Antipolis, France.

Participants at GSC-10 included the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF), Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) of Japan, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) from the US, the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA), the Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) of Japan, the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of Korea, the ICT Standards Advisory Council of Canada (ISACC), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Guests and observers included representatives from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT), the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and the Sector Board 4 of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Specific resolutions on the following topics were agreed at the meeting:

  • Next-Generation Networks
  • Mapping Standards for "Systems Beyond IMT 2000"
  • Cybersecurity
  • Home Networking
  • Emergency Communications
  • Broadband Services in Rural and Remote Areas
  • Open Standards
  • Facilitating Liaison in relation to Measurement Methodologies for Assessing Human Exposure to RF Energy
  • Wireless access including RLANs, Ad-Hoc Networking and Broadband Wireless Access
  • Supporting Automotive Crash Notification ("ACN") by Public Wireless Communications Networks
  • Radio Microphones and Cordless Audio Devices
  • RFID Systems, Services and Networking
  • Public Protection & Disaster Relief
  • Ultra Wide Band
  • Intellectual Property Rights Policies
  • User Interest Working Group

Other areas discussed were:

  • Location-based Services
  • Internet Protocol over Wireless
  • Software defined radio & Cognitive radio
  • Digital Broadcasting including mobile multimedia applications
  • Satellite services

ITU maintains a repository of documents relating to this and all past GSC meetings.

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 9:22:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Industry has agreed on the technical direction for NGN" (next generation networks), said Keith Dickerson, BT head of standards and co-leader of ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) Working Group 7 on future packet-based networks. "We shouldn't have interoperability problems when the NGN is deployed," he said.

FGNGN's job is to define network architecture and requirements to support fixed-mobile convergence, letting a fixed-line operator provide the same services as a network operator offering 3GPP defined services, for example, using IMS, said Dick Knight of BT vice chairman of FGNGN: "Thus equipment can be connected to either a fixed or mobile network [and] receive the same services, and a dedicated device, such as a phone, may roam between a 3GPP or 3GPP2 network and a fixed line network."

Fixed-mobile convergence will be enabled by extending the 3GPP IMS to provide the same services over the fixed network, said Dickerson: "BT is pushing for emulation of PSTN services to meet the 2009 deadline, when we'll be closing down PSTN... BT plans to move all its customers to its 21st Century Network," BT's version of the NGN, by 2009.

"FGNGN has given strategic and technical direction to industry, and enables a network operator to offer new services in new markets: Presence, IM, maybe in the future broadcast digital TV and video on demand. The design of a flexible service platform enables the networks to innovate to provide almost any capabilities and services we can imagine," Knight said.

FGNGN's main product will be Release 1, which "is a set of capabilities," said Keith Mainwaring of Cisco, co- leader of the FGNGN Working Group on Quality fo Service (QoS) and member of ITU Study Group 11, "one that specifies the mechanisms to provide NGN services. Defining the mechanisms will be assigned back to ITU Study Groups." With most standards "quite stable," the group is getting ready for final comments, "expected to be mostly of an editorial nature," said Chae-Sub Lee of Korea's Electronics Telecom Research Institute (ETRI), FGNGN chairman. QoS documents will comprise about 40% of Release 1. Among the group's 6 or so expected independent releases may be 12-14 QoS documents, said Lee.

Release 1 is due to be completed Nov. 18 in London, and a day later Cisco, Motorola, BT and Siemens will sponsor an industry event at which CTOs plan to speak on how firms will use the NGN standards.

The full text can be accessed through Warren's Washington Internet Daily.

For more information on the topics above, see the ITU FGNGN website.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:12:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The recent Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Symposium on Network Security and SPAM presented background information, detailed the current situation, new developments and steps ahead on network security and fighting spam in the Asia-Pacific region.

TSB presented highlights of ITU-T work on security, also detailing the level of participation of the AP region in Study Group 17, the ITU-T group that looks at security issues. Mr Jianyong Chen (ITU-T SG 17 Vice Chair from China ) also attended the event and made a detailed presentation on current SG 17 work. He also chaired two sessions.

In addition TSB presented the results of the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held in Geneva , 28 June – 1 July 2005. The meeting was organized in three full-day sessions and was attended by some 70 representatives from the Asia-Pacific area. The first day was dedicated to cybersecurity, the second to countering spam, and the third to cooperation initiatives.

The complete set of presentations given at the APT meeting can be downloaded here. The meeting invited AP countries to step-up their capability building initiatives and encouraged APT to increase its collaboration on network security and spam with international organizations working in the area.

For more information, see the ITU-T Newslog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:07:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU has released an IP Policy Manual.

"The use of Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies is now a strategic element in the design, development and use of telecommunication networks. Consequently, there is a growing interest by ITU members in the policy and regulatory issues related to the growth of IP-based networks, such as the Internet, and their convergence with other networks. One example is the rapid uptake of Voice over IP (VoIP), which has given rise to a number of recent national regulatory proceedings and decisions. We are also witnessing a growing interest in the policy and regulatory implications of next-generation networks (NGNs), a key standardization activity in ITU. Convergence across media platforms, such as delivery of television over broadband networks, is also forcing national policy and regulatory reviews spanning what were previously different sectors. This clearly will result in new challenges for national policy makers and regulators and there appears to be a need to build international dialogue on these issues, including the sharing of national experiences and approaches as well as assistance in capacity building for developing economies. There is much opportunity not only to find common technical approaches, as in ITU's standards work on NGNs, but also to discuss and share common policy and regulatory approaches to convergence and network security."

For further information click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 10:14:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, August 27, 2005

Standards that may accelerate the adoption of VoIP in corporate environments and resolve an issue that has slowed down the adoption of videoconferencing have been completed by ITU-T.

The standards from ITU-T’s multimedia Study Group (Study Group 16) provide a robust and easy to implement solution that will allow any H.323 based system communicating on an IP network to more easily communicate across the boundary imposed by NAT or firewalls (FW).

Videoconferencing and VoIP have long been plagued with problems when trying to work across network address translation (NAT) and firewall boundaries. Despite previous attempts to address the issue, no standardized way of dealing with the problem has emerged until now. 

Without the ITU solution many network managers and operators have found that the only way to allow inbound VoIP calls in a firewall-protected environment is to leave a permanent hole from the outside world, open a range of port numbers for VoIP use, or locate devices outside of the firewall. Clearly, these solutions violate even the most basic security policies. 

Recommendation H.460.18 enables H.323 devices to exchange signalling and establish calls, even when they are placed inside a private network behind NAT/FW devices. These extensions, when used together with Recommendation H.460.19, which defines NAT/FW traversal for media, enable upgraded H.323 endpoints to traverse NAT/FW installations with no additional equipment on the customer premises. Alternatively, the H.460.18 and H.460.19 functionality may be implemented in a proxy server, so that unmodified H.323 endpoints can also benefit from it.

Work on the related Recommendation H.248.37 was also finished at the Study Group meeting. Session border controllers (SBCs) are becoming an important part of the Internet infrastructure, and some SBCs are being split into media gateway controller (MGC) and media gateway (MG) components. One important function of a SBC is to perform network address and port translation (NAPT). H.248.37 allows the MGC to instruct a MG to latch to an address provided by an incoming Internet Protocol (IP) application data stream, rather than the address provided by the call/bearer control. This enables the MG to open a pinhole for data flow, and hence allow connections to be established. 

As well as these ITU-T Recommendations, Study Group 16 will shortly publish two technical papers on the topic: The Requirements for Network Address Translator and Firewall Traversal of H.323 Multimedia Systems and Firewall and NAT traversal Problems in H.323 Systems.

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Saturday, August 27, 2005 8:24:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 25, 2005

Recommendation H.460.20 consented at the last Study Group 16 meeting solves the problem of how to provide location information in calls generated to/from H.323 systems. The Recommendation allows these systems – such as VoIP or videoconferencing – to convey information that could be a URL, an e-Mail, a postal code, or a mobile telephone number. This is much more than can be achieved with a traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) call.

Currently calls generated or terminated in H.323 systems do not carry - end-to-end – details of where that call is coming from. This information is needed by the public switched telephone network (PSTN) for emergency services, more accurate billing and for routing the call. Additionally it is useful, for instance, in applications such as telemarketing where calls can be routed according to their origin. 

Technically H.460.20 gives H.323 the ability to convey the location number present in ISUP – the system that determines the set-up, co-ordination and taking down of calls. Without this ability location information is lost at the interworking edge between the IP network and the PSTN. An additional benefit is that it simplifies interworking with the session initiation protocol (SIP).

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 9:15:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 05, 2005

The Chairman's report (PDF) from the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held June 28 - July 1 2005 has been released.

The event was organized in the framework of the implementation of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted on 12 December 2003, at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and in preparation for the Tunis phase of WSIS, to be held from 16 to 18 November, 2005. The event website provides links to the final agenda, all background papers, presentations, electronic contributions, the Chairman’s Report and audio archives.

The four-day meeting was structured to consider and debate six broad themes in promoting international dialogue and cooperative measures among governments, the private sector and other stakeholders as well as promotion of a global culture of cybersecurity. These include information sharing of national and regional approaches, good practices and guidelines; developing watch, warning and incident response capabilities; technical standards and industry solutions; harmonizing national legal approaches and international legal coordination; privacy, data and consumer protection; and developing countries and cybersecurity.

The first day of the meeting focused on countering spam as follow-up to the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Countering Spam, held in July 2004.

Friday, August 05, 2005 12:38:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At a recent ITU cybersecurity event, Bruce Schneier, Founder and CTO, Counterpane Internet Security, Inc. gave a keynote speech entitled Negotiating for Security.

A Real Audio archive is available of Mr. Schneier's talk (speech starts 4 minutes from start of archive).

Mr. Schneier states that security is one of the fundamental building blocks of the information society as everything we now do with information requires some kind of security—sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, may it be personal, corporate or government related. He said that to a very real extent the limits of the information society can be seen as the limits of security. In other words, if we cannot do it securely, we will not do it with computers and on the internet. Therefore, this means that security is a fundamental enabling technology of the global information society. Moreover, he noted that society as a whole is increasingly moving onto computers and networks and therefore things that had previously nothing to do with computers suddenly do: whether airplanes or the national power grid, these now have an important information security component to their secure functioning. This means that information security therefore has become our general security, which is almost everything. This fact explains our need for an increased focus on security and why the things we are trying to achieve here at this meeting are so important.

Friday, August 05, 2005 11:16:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the recent ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, Maria Cristina Bueti, Policy Analyst, Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU, presented a background paper entitled ITU Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities Worldwide. The survey was conducted in April 2005 and sent to ITU’s 189 Member States. The survey results, based on 58 responses received, showed that there are a number of countries that have already implemented anti-spam legislation. In some cases, countries use data protection laws or consumer protection laws to cope with spam issues. A number of countries do not have anti-spam legislation or any laws applicable to spam. A slide from her presentation is shown below.

Friday, August 05, 2005 10:58:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the list of presentations (check for update):

Thursday, August 04, 2005 11:22:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 03, 2005

John Levine, Chair, IRTF Antispam Research Group (ASRG) writes in his weblog that the anti-spam Sender Policy Framework (SPF) email authentication scheme is losing market mindshare.

In a recent talk at an ITU Cybersecurity Event, Mr. Levine gave a presentation entitled The Limits of Security Technology: Lessons from the Spam Wars. In his talk, he asked the audience to reflect carefully as to how technology fits in to the overall solution. He stressed that technology can be morally and politically neutral but we need to decide exactly what it is that we want. For example, an ultimate solution to spam could impact on issues such as anonymous speech, whether we wanted virtual or physical identities, or closed or open systems. These were all tradeoffs that needed to be considered.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 8:42:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 29, 2005

The final version of a paper commissioned by the ITU entitled A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: The Quest for a Model Law (PDF) has been released. The paper was authored by Derek E. Bambauer, John G. Palfrey, Jr., and David E. Abrams, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, for the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held in Geneva, 28 June - 1 July 2005.

Executive Summary

Spam presents a significant challenge to users, Internet service providers, states, and legal systems worldwide. The costs of spam are significant and growing, and the increasing volume of spam threatens to destroy the utility of electronic mail communications.

The Chairman’s Report from the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Countering Spam in July 2004 emphasized the importance of a multi-faceted approach to solving the problem of spam and named legal governance as one of the necessary means. Our paper focuses on the potential nature of the legal regulation of spam, specifically the importance of harmonizing regulations in the form of a model spam law. We agree with the Chairman that the law is only one means towards this end and we urge regulators to incorporate other modes of control into their efforts, including technical methods, market-based means, and norm-based modalities.

Spam uniquely challenges regulation because it easily transverses borders. The sender of a message, the server that transmits it, and the recipient who reads it may be located in three different states, all of which are under unique legal governance. If spam laws are not aligned in these states, enforcement will suffer because the very differences between spam laws may mean that a violation in one state is a permissible action in another. Moreover, spammers have an incentive to locate operations in places with less regulation, and the opportunity to states to create a domestic spam hosting market may engage them in a race to the bottom.

Harmonizing laws that regulate spam offers considerable benefits, insofar as a model law could assist in establishing a framework for cross-border enforcement collaboration. To those enforcing the regulation of spam, harmonization as a model law effort offers: clear guidelines, easy adoption, enhanced enforcement, stronger norms, fewer havens for spammers, and the increased sharing of best practices. If such regulators then agree that harmonization can aid legal regimes intent on curbing spam, they must initially address four critical tasks: defining prohibited content, setting default rules for contacting recipients, harmonizing existing laws, and enforcing such rules effectively. This legal approach must be concurrently matched by efforts that employ other modes of regulation, such as technical measures, user education, and market-based approaches.

Our analysis of existing spam legislation gathered by the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit evaluated these laws’ elements to determine whether they were commonly included or not, and whether provisions were uniformly implemented or varying when present. Our research documents seven instances in which extant laws strongly converge: a focus on commercial content, the mandatory disclosure of sender/advertiser/routing, bans on fraudulent or misleading content, bans on automated collection or generation of recipient addresses, the permission to contact recipients where there is an existing relationship, the requirement to allow recipients to refuse future messages, and a mix of graduated civil and criminal liability. Also documented are five key areas of disagreement which are vital to a harmonized spam law but which have evaded consensus thus far: a prior consent requirement for contacting recipients, a designated enforcer, label requirements for spam messages, the definition of spam (whether it is limited to e-mail communication, or includes other applications, such as SMS), and the jurisdictional reach of the system’s spam laws. Naturally, a harmonization effort must tackle and narrow these zones of divergence in order to succeed.

Spam laws, whether harmonized or not, are at best only part of the solution to the spam problem and must be developed in concert with technical, market, and norms-based tools if the scourge of spam is to be substantially reduced. Efforts to harmonize the legal regulation of spam can serve as one effective means to solving the unique challenges spam presents. A model spam law is possible to develop, despite the many differences among the world’s spam laws.

Friday, July 29, 2005 10:00:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 28, 2005

According to this article relating to a recent event at Supercomm, while carriers and manufacturers aggressively press for the convergence of infrastructures, applications and services over next-generation network (NGN) technologies on a worldwide basis, there are many policy issues in regulation, public safety and security the United States and other national/international bodies are addressing on NGN implementations.

The various next-gen activities and challenges among U.S. and global policy makers were explored and outlined during a number of exhibit-booth lecture sessions sponsored by ATIS - a technical planning-and-standards- development organization with more than 350 participating companies - at the recent Supercomm exposition in Chicago.

Anthony M. Rutkowski, vice president for regulatory affairs and standards at VeriSign, said the Internet-inspired NGN terminology began to take greater shape within the telecom community during the 2000-04 timeframe, and it has come to "represent an omnibus array of activities and products emerging from a constellation of standards, regulatory and professional bodies worldwide," with significant NGN-related activities oriented around a real need facing providers and regulators worldwide.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 9:03:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From Business Communications Review: IMS 101: What You Need To Know Now.

"Out of the wireless standards consortium called 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) comes a slow-growing and complicated collection of carrier network functions and processes that collectively are referred to as IMS, which stands for the IP (or Internet) Multimedia Subsystem. The IMS standards promise an operator-friendly environment for real-time, packet-based calls and services that not only will preserve traditional carrier controls over user signaling and usage-based billing, but also will generate new revenue via deep packet inspection of protocols, URI and content. IMS was conceived for the evolution of cellular telephony networks, but the benefits of user signaling and billing controls have attracted the endorsement and involvement of wireline network operators and standards makers, including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the U.S.-based Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and the UN-sponsored International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In the U.S., cable multiple systems operators (MSOs) are also showing interest in IMS as part of the recent CableLabs PacketCable initiative, and network operators recently approached the WiMAX Forum's Network Working Group, asking that IMS be included in its forthcoming reference architecture."

From Ewan Sutherlands weblog.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 7:32:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 27, 2005

InternetNZ announced the release of its ENUM Personal User Agent prototype source code under an Open Source BSD Licence to encourage developer support of an ENUM initiative in New Zealand. The system integrates with Asterisk, an Open Source PBX.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:24:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the ITU-T Newslog: The Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) has recently completed a technical report that will hand back some elements of network management to the customer.

The document is an approved deliverable of the group that will be submitted to FGNGN’s parent within ITU-T, Study Group 13, for further consideration as a candidate ITU-T product (e.g. Recommendation, supplement, handbook, etc.). It outlines a framework for customer manageable IP networks (CMIP).

CMIP will give end users the ability to manage network elements and resources, such as bandwidth and storage.

Using a menu driven system CMIP will allow end-users to split bandwidth, dedicating, for instance, 1 Mbps to file sharing, .5 Mbps to instant messaging and e-mail, and .5 Mbps to web browsing.

Service providers will benefit by being able to offer this ability as value-add to their Internet service offerings, and will also be able to better provision network resources for services, such as web browsing, VoIP, and peer to peer (P2P), given the increased knowledge of exactly how users are using their bandwidth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 10:31:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A very good article entitled Telecom: Conflict of Motives by Tom Nolle in the June 2005 issue of BCR Magazine discusses how the future of networking is often seen too simplistically as a fundamental conflict between "the Internet" and "the telcos". 

  • "The Internet supporters have a notion of good public policy: Anything over IP is unregulated. However, “unregulated” means free market dynamics will prevail, and so this position is actually self-defeating. What’s needed is a constructive open debate on what regulatory policy should be..."
  • "Proof point one is simple: “Prove that your concept of rampant innovation doesn’t necessarily mean free networks.” Somebody has to finance the network of the future."
  • "Proof point number two is more complicated: “Prove that revolutionary new opportunities are really opportunities and not just disruptions.” Pure research is wonderful and necessary, but when you talk about deploying worldwide infrastructure for services critical to the economic survival of many societies, you ought to be out of the experimenting phase."
  • Proof point number three is the most complicated of all: “Prove you won’t do it again.” We lied, as an industry. We lied to Wall Street, to Main Street, to regulators and to ourselves. The financial markets move on credibility. They will never understand this industry, our technology. They will have to take us at our word, and our word is no longer good. Every naïve comment about “profit,” every notion of “free” this or that, only validates the financial view that the best thing this industry can do is hunker down and control costs. Who better to do that than the “conservative” common carriers?
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 11:07:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Korea's Chosun Ilbo has an article on how competition is heating up in deployment of Korea's national NGN project which is called the Broadband convergence Network (BcN). BcN is the fusion of communication, broadcasting and the Internet, is a next-generation information network that the Korean government is pushing to complete by 2010 as part of its national IT 839 Strategy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 10:11:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BCR Magazine has an editorial entitled Monetizing the Internet:

"I won’t pretend that John Waclawsky’s article in this month’s issue (“IMS 101: What You Need To Know Now”) is easy going. There are a lot of protocol acronyms and stuff about standards bodies that might tempt you to turn the page. Don’t.

Waclawsky’s article has everything to do with what the public networks, wireline and wireless, are likely to become over the next few years. It deals with the IP/Internet Multimedia Subsystem or IMS, the standards set that began in the wireless world but is likely to become the foundation of a comprehensive vision that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) calls the Next Generation Network or NGN.

What’s remarkable about Waclawsky’s article, to me anyway, is its conclusion. If you’ve followed his past articles for BCR (see “Closed Architectures, Closed Systems And Closed Minds,” October 2004, and “Where Do System Standards Go From Here?” March 2005), you know that Waclawsky is not kindly disposed toward these overarching, carrier-driven standards efforts. He’s highly skeptical of attempts to, as he puts it in this month’s article, “monetize the Internet.” He uses the current article to critique the IMS and related efforts, and finds much wanting.

Yet his bottom line is this: “In spite of the drawbacks and delays, it seems one or more variations of IMS could become the norm for all broadband access.” This forecast cannot be made with any relish."

More....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 9:58:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU Council has approved that the theme for World Telecommunication Day 2006 (May 17) be Promoting Global Cybersecurity.

Here is the background of this decision as contained in the proposal to ITU Council:

The United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 2002, a resolution entitled UNGA Resolution 57/239: Creation of a global culture of cybersecurity, calling for international organizations to consider measures to foster a global culture of cybersecurity and invited Member States to develop throughout their societies a culture of cybersecurity in the application and use of information technologies. The General Assembly also stressed the necessity to facilitate the transfer of information technology and capacity-building to developing countries, in order to help them to take measures in cybersecurity.

The ITU Plenipotentiary in 2002 adopted Resolution 130: Strengthening the role of ITU in information and communication network security, instructing the Secretary General and the Directors of the Bureaux to intensify work within existing ITU study groups and inviting ITU Member States and Sector Members to participate actively in the ongoing work of the relevant ITU study groups.

In 2004, a second resolution, UNGA Resolution 58/199: Creation of a global culture of cybersecurity and the protection of critical information infrastructure, was adopted by the United Nations on the global culture of cybersecurity and the protection of critical information infrastructure. The General Assembly, through this Resolution, encouraged Member States, regional and international organizations that have developed strategies to deal with cybersecurity and the protection of critical information infrastructures to share their best practices and measures that could assist other Member States in their efforts to facilitate the achievement of cybersecurity; it also stressed the necessity for enhanced efforts to close the digital divide, to achieve universal access to information and communication technologies and to protect critical information infrastructures by facilitating the transfer of information technology and capacity-building, in particular to developing countries so that all States may benefit fully from information and communication technologies for their socio-economic development.

In 2004, the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) adopted Resolution 50 on Cybersecurity, requesting the ITU-T to continue to raise awareness, of the need to defend information and communication systems against the threat of cyberattack, and continue to promote cooperation among appropriate entities in order to enhance exchange of technical information in the field of information and communication network security.

In accordance with PP Resolution 130 and WTSA Resolution 50, it was proposed that ITU should take a lead role in promoting a global cybersecurity campaign. The vehicle of World Telecommunication Day can be used to build an awareness campaign in support of this objective. In implementing this campaign, ITU would work in close cooperation with organizations involved in global cybersecurity issues, including the European Network and Information Security Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as other national, regional and international interested entities.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 9:48:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Light Reading says it is IMS Crunch Time:

"After a dizzying ascent from minor-league 3G standards initiative to major-league NGN architecture, IMS is clearly ready for prime time. But what is it, exactly, that it’s called upon to deliver? To answer that question, we need to remind ourselves what the standards-setters set out to achieve."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 8:32:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 25, 2005

Press Release: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications, and infoDev, a multi-donor programme focusing on information and communication technologies (ICT) for development, today launched a new online Regulation Toolkit designed to address the complex regulatory challenges emerging from a rapidly evolving ICT industry.

An update and expansion of infoDev’s influential print publication Telecom Regulators’ Handbook (issued in 2000), the new web-based toolkit is aimed at national and regional regulatory agencies, ICT policy-makers, and other stakeholders with an active interest in ICT regulation. Nearly 140 countries worldwide now have a national regulatory authority, with the vast majority having been put in place during the last 10 years. These relatively new authorities, many of which have been established as part of a broader programme of national ICT liberalization, have a strong need for reliable and impartial information on regulatory issues and best practice.

"Today’s regulators and policy makers — especially those in the developing world — are seeking practical advice and concrete best practice guidelines to help grow their national ICT markets," said Hamadoun I. Touré, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "The new ICT Regulation Toolkit responds to this demand by providing a first-class product on policy and regulation."

Conceived as a permanently evolving resource, the toolkit consists of a series of modules on key regulatory issues in the rapidly converging ICT sector. The first module, which went live today, deals with the authorization of telecommunication services. It addresses such issues as different authorization approaches and practices, and competitive licensing processes. It also highlights recent trends toward lighter authorization and licensing practices that reduce barriers to market entry.

Monday, July 25, 2005 3:11:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 22, 2005

In between the meetings of two lead technical groups working on image and video compression, ISO/IEC's JPEG and ITU-T's Study Group 16, ITU will host a Workshop on Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) at the ITU headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland, 22 to 23 July 2005. Key experts will join users to review the development, assessment and application of video and image coding and to discuss and start work on an action plan and a roadmap for VICA standardization.

Presentations will instigate discussion on how standards work in the field, including how next generation networks (NGN) can support the development of so-called ubiquitous services - any device, anytime, anywhere. Current work on home network environments will also be taken into account. For more information, see the ITU meeting website.

One of the presentations includes an overview of the ITU-T H.264 standard (also known as MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) made by Gary Sullivan, Microsoft, Rapporteur for ITU-T Q.6/16.

Friday, July 22, 2005 7:20:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 21, 2005

Article featured in Total Telecom talks about Japan's intentions to work towards developing an NGN standard.

"The Japanese government is to urge private telecom carriers to upgrade domestic telecoms networks to next-generation IP-based telecommunications networks (NGN) by 2007.

According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, the policy has been decided in order to try and push Japanese NGN standards in the hope of getting a big slice of the international equipment market for Japanese equipment manufacturers.

The International Telecommunication Union is expected to decide on the global specifications for NGNs by around 2008. The Japanese Ministry of Communications aims to have developed and proposed a standard to the ITU by then after working with the country's major telcos, including Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), KDDI Corp. and SoftBank, as well as manufacturers of communications equipment including NEC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., and Hitachi Ltd."

"The ministry hopes Japan will seize the initiative by being the first to come up with a tried and tested set of standards that might be accepted for international adoption, thus giving local manufacturers a huge leg up on international markets. While Japanese manufacturers have dominated their domestic market for telecommunications equipment through working with NTT, U.S. firms control 90% of the global market for routers. The Japanese firms are hoping the switch to a new set of standards for NGNs will help them overcome this imbalance.

The adoption of NGNs is expected to substantially lower communications costs because they will require only half the plant and equipment investment and maintenance expense required for current phone systems, according to the report, which says the networks will use a new breed of low-cost routers. Replacing Japan's current domestic phone networks will require an investment of an estimated 3 trillion to 6 trillion yen (22 billion to 44 billion euros) in plant and equipment over a five-year period. KDDI has been proposing replacement of its copper network by 2007 and NTT by 2010, but the Ministry hopes to speed this up to fit in with the ITU's schedule."

Thursday, July 21, 2005 11:21:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Working Group on Internet Governance has released its final report (Word, PDF).

The Report has been translated in all UN languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish (all Word format).

A Background Report (Word) is also made available. It will be translated into French and posted on this website in due course.

Click here (PDF) to view the Press Release.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 8:42:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Via Africa: Creating local and regional IXPs to save money and bandwidth has been released by The ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) Regulatory Reform Unit.

This booklet has three sections that seek to look at how national and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) might be created, particularly in the African context but it also draws on lessons from elsewhere:

  • Section One looks at the African policy context out of which IXPs came and outlines the practical reasons for implementing them on the continent.
  • Section Two describes how national IXPs have been set up and deals with both the people and technology issues that have to be addressed. It also identifies ways in which the regulatory framework can be made more favourable to encourage their successful operation.
  • Section Three looks at the next logical step: how it might be possible to connect national IXPs so that data can flow between countries without needing to leave the continent. It summarizes: the discussions to date about the best approach to this task; the option chosen by AfrISPA; and what needs to happen to make it a reality.

There is also a discussion of the regulatory issues that may need to be considered and the appendices of the booklet contain a list of useful documents and references.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 3:16:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 30, 2005

ITU-T has recently hosted a workshop on IPv6 organized in cooperation with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (IPv6 EU TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum. The event, held in Geneva, between 22 to 23 June 2005, examined the current status of IPv6, with regards to rollout, policy, technology and applications. An additional aim was to promote awareness of IPv6 to countries where Internet use is relatively low. The agenda and presentations have been made available on the event web site.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:02:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 29, 2005

During this morning's session at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity on Information Sharing of National and Regional Approaches, Good Practices and Guidelines, Myriam DUNN, Head, International Relations and Security Network (ISN), Center for Security Studies (CSS), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland presented a background paper (PDF) on A Comparative Analysis of Cybersecurity Initatives Worldwide.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 12:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The final presentation at yesterday's session on spam at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, John LEVINE, Chair, IETF Antispam Research Group (ASRG) made a presentation entitled the Limits of Security Technology: Lessons from the Spam Wars.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:46:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission recently hosted an Open Workshop on Identifying Policy and Regulatory Issues of Next Generation Networks (PDF) on the 22 June 2005. The presentations made at the workshop can be found here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:27:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Yesterday, at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, during the day focused on spam, a session was dedicated to discussing national policies and legislative approaches to spam. As part of this session, a Background Paper commissioned by ITU, entitled A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: the Quest for Model Law, was presented (presentation) by Derek BAMBAUER, Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The authors of hte paper are Derek BAMBAUER, John PALFREY, Executive Director, and David ABRAMS, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, United States. From the introduction to the report: 

The goal of this paper is to help policymakers understand the potential benefits and challenges of model spam legislation as a tool to improve the security of and user confidence in information and communications technology (ICT), as well as the potential that model spam legislation holds for Internet users worldwide. First, it sets forth a framework for understanding spam and identifies key issues confronting regulators. Next, the paper examines the set of options for spam laws based on existing and proposed legislation gathered by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU). It analyzes the level of consensus among these extant laws and the degree to which a particular component is included in most legislation and in the degree to which provisions addressing this component are similar or harmonized. The paper points towards zones where there is considerable consensus while simultaneously illuminating the most fundamental differences, so that policymakers can tackle the hard issues and choices involved in spam laws. Finally, the paper makes preliminary recommendations for spam law efforts and considers both the potential for and the likely efficacy of a model spam law.

During the same sessions, there were presentations from:

  • Panellist: Jonathan KRADEN (biography), Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), United States
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Miguel MONTERO (biography), Spam Ruling Administrator, Radiografica Costarricense (RACSA), Costa Rica
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Liang LIU (biography), Assistant Director, Anti-Spam Coordination Team, Internet Society of China, People’s Republic of China
      o  Presentation
  • Presentation: Maria Cristina BUETI (biography), Policy Analyst, Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU
    ”ITU Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities Worldwide”
      o  Presentation
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:10:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Luc Mathan from the relatively new Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) is giving a presentation on MAAWG's efforts to align the messaging industry stakeholders along three directives: Collaboration, Technology and Policy. The working group will address collaborating on cross-operator communications, best practices and technology to combat messaging abuse, as well as developing a cohesive point of view on public policy.  More information about MAAWG.

MAAWG members are developing a feedback loop mechanisms to deal with spam complaints between ISPs. They are also creating a contact database for service providers to be able to contact the appropriate person to deal with a messaging abuse situation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:29:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Steve Linford of the Spamhaus Project is speaking at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity on the first day which is concentrating on countering spam. Some of his remarks:

  • Spamhaus blocks approximatley 8 billion spam messages per day
  • They estimate there are 4 million infected zombie machines which have been compromised with 60-100,000 newly infected per week
  • These are used to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) Attacks
  • This is increasingly a criminal activity with "spam supermarkets"
  • Mostly American and Russian spammers using Chinese hosting. These are technically smart users who firewall their sites from their hosting companies.
  • Spammers in Russia are more criminal than US counterparts. They are involved in
  • The largest Russian ISP, Rostelecom says they cannot terminate accounts as Russian law does not permit it.
  • Australian spam laws are best in the world, penalties are high enough to make a dent in spam
  • Consumer confidence in the Internet is dropping every day
  • Spam is a cancer and it is fast killing the Internet

Some of Steve's conclusions include:

  • You must ban and not regulate spam
  • Governments must give resources to law enforcement agencies
  • Make it criminal for ISPs to host spammers
  • Require a 24 hour point of contact for all ISPs to terminate problems
  • Educate users to not reply to spam

The meeting is also being audiocast live over the Internet. Mr. Linford's talk is the beginning of Session 2.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:06:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 03, 2005

On 31 May 2005 the European Telecommunication Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) ran its 3rd annual conference on "New Generation Networks: The Next Telecoms Revolution". The discussion focused mostly on three issues 1) convergence, 2) regulatory and policy challenges, and 3) business opportunities. 

For more information as well as links to the presentations click here.

Friday, June 03, 2005 5:33:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Richard Stastny in VoIP and ENUM points to three interesting presentations given at VON Europe 2005 on ENUM:

He provides more detailed comments on each of these presentations in VON Europe 2005 - ENUM Update - Part 1, VON Europe 2005 - ENUM Update - Part 2 - Tom Kershaw and VON Europe 2005 - ENUM Update - Part 3 - XConnect or Catch 22.

Friday, June 03, 2005 12:35:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the ITU-T Newslog: A meeting of Study Group 15, the ITU-T group responsible for studies into optical and other transport network technologies, has consented a new Recommendation that defines the way for equipment providers to produce systems for Ethernet virtual private line (EVPL) services. EVPLs offer a way for operators to provide point-to-point connections for carrying data over shared-bandwidth facilities.

The announcement is in line with the current industry trend to offer Ethernet services, and further signals Ethernet's growth in popularity as an enterprise telecom service.

Long-recognized as a ubiquitous LAN technology, Ethernet is now seeing increased attention as a carrier-grade service. In part this is due to the convenience of being able to simply provide end-to-end service, but also carriers can realize savings both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.

In terms of capital expenditure, Ethernet is easy and cost-effective to provision in the network. In terms of operational expenditure, carriers can deploy a single physical connection to the end user, but adapt its data-carrying capacity as end-user requirements dictate over time. This flexibility means a significant saving for the operator and the customer.

This work follows earlier work in the area of ITU Ethernet standards approved last year. See this ITU press release from June 2004.

The new Recommendation - G.8011.2 - defines the service attributes and parameters for carrying Ethernet characteristic information over shared-bandwidth, point-to-point connections, provided by SDH, ATM, MPLS, PDH, OTH, or ETY server layer networks.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:18:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 02, 2005

In the framework of its Technology Watch activities, ITU-T has recently published a technical paper on radio frequency identification (RFID) and opportunities for its use in mobile telecommunication services. RFID enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. It is only recently that the technology has begun to take off in the mass market. Analysts predict that RFID will revolutionize areas of industry, such as supply chain management and the retail business, for example by reducing costs with better stock management. The technical paper presents several ideas for applications of RFID technology in mobile telecommunication services as well as possible areas for standardization efforts. Apart from purely technical concepts, the challenging aspects of security and privacy are discussed. A PowerPoint presentation of the paper is also available.

ITU-T recently set up a correspondence group on RFID in the framework of its Technology Watch and a dedicated e-mail reflector on the matter for initiating studies on the technology. Additionally, ITU-T is to hold a workshop on RFID standardization issues in the first quarter of 2006. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, June 02, 2005 12:15:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 27, 2005

OECD has released a report on Next Generation Network (NGN) development in member countries.

"Over the last several years, a number of the major network operators have put in place network upgrade plans to implement next generation networks (NGN). Some market analysts now predict that the entire Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will evolve into an NGN over the next 10 years or so. Technological change is happening very quickly, underscoring the need for policy and regulation to be based on principles that support consumer interests, such as competition policy, not on specific technical aspects of networks."

For the full report (PDF), click here.  

Friday, May 27, 2005 2:53:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the ITU-T Newslog: ITU-T has completed the specifications necessary for telecoms operators around the world to offer a ‘super’ triple play of video, Internet and voice services.

The ITU-T Recommendation for very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2) will allow operators worldwide to compete with cable and satellite operators by offering services such as high definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high speed Internet access and advanced voice services including VoIP, over a standard copper telephone cable.

VDSL2 will offer consumers up to 100 Mbps up and downstream, a massive ten-fold increase over the more common ADSL. Essentially it allows so-called ‘fibre-extension’ bringing fibre like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fibre-optic segment of a telecoms company’s network.

As well as addressing increasing consumer demands, VDSL2 offers telecom carriers a solution that promises to be interoperable with the ADSL kit that many operators already have in place. This interoperability will make the migration of customers to VDSL2 much simpler. Another important feature of VDSL2 is that it will work in both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP based networks.

VDSL2 is seen by many operators as an ideal accompaniment to a fibre to the premises (FTTP) rollout, where for instance fibre is supplied direct to an apartment block and from there copper cable is used to supply residents with high-speed VDSL2.

Yoichi Maeda, chairman of the Study Group responsible for the work said: “We have leveraged the strengths of ADSL, ADSL2+, and VDSL to achieve the very high performance levels that you will see with VDSL2. It looks set to become an extremely important feature of the telecommunications landscape and is a landmark achievement for our members, many of whom were relying on this Recommendation in order to take their businesses to the next level.”

The publication of standardized specifications in an ITU-T Recommendation (G.993.2) means that operators can avoid being locked into a single vendor. As well as the economic advantages that this may bring it also means that operators can select the best solutions according to their needs.

Friday, May 27, 2005 2:09:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Friday, May 27, 2005 2:03:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 26, 2005

Communications has a post on the recent IMTC Forum 2005: The Future of Next Generation Networks: Convergence of VoIP, Videoconferencing and Mobile, May 10-12, 2005.

The IMTC is an industry association best known for championing video telephony.  Many of the attendees have devoted 10, 15, even 20 years of effort to making video telephony work. 

All of the presentations made at the Forum are linked to in this document (Word) on the IMTC web site. Some presentations worth highlighting include:

Thursday, May 26, 2005 2:47:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies of the EC Joint Research Center (JRC) has released a report on the "Demand for Furture Mobile Communication Markets and Services in Europe". 

"In order to prepare for the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Word Radio Conference in 2007 (WRC'07), where national delegations will consider the future demands of wireless services for radio spectrum, efforts are being made to reach agreement on future traffic volumes within the European Union. This study forms part of this effort and was led by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS1), on the request of DG INFSO. It aims to explore (qualitatively) the way that citizens will use future wireless communications services over mobile networks, and to assess (quantitatively) the traffic that will be generated by 2010, 2015 and 2020."

The report explores different possible scenarios for Europe for the future. "Disposable income determines consumption – what is bought and how it is bought. The failure to understand this or to grasp the real utility to the user of the service, combined with affordability and accessibility, has led to many errors in estimating demand for services in telecommunications. Too often, a technocentric view of new services has resulted in demand being vastly underestimated or overestimated. Thus while some of the biggest product launches in communications services over the past 20 years have delivered flops, seemingly trivial services have exploded. For instance, the impact of a simple service, SMS, has been greatly underestimated and was largely unforeseen by the industry."

"The initial European impacts over 2000 to 2004 of WAP (Wireless access protocol) for mobile web access to rich data services were greatly overestimated for its first form - only now is its utility being seen. We should also note that in wireless services, a regional market such as the European Union will be increasingly shaped by a global market. In 2020, there could be of the order of 5 billion mobile users, shaping technology, services, content and pricing."

For the full report, see here.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 9:12:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host an interoperability demonstration at June's Supercomm event in Chicago, USA showing how a suite of ITU-T standards will enable data stream services like Ethernet to be effectively transported over existing SONET/SDH and ASON enabled carrier networks.

Additionally the demo will show how Ethernet can be used to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply as a service delivery mechanism (see press release).

The event will include testing of data plane interoperability of next generation transport network functions such as generic framing procedure (GFP), virtual concatenation (VCAT) and link capacity adjustment scheme (LCAS), all supporting technologies to SONET/SDH (and all defined in ITU-T G-series Recommendations).

The seven global telecommunication carriers taking part will provide test facilities, engineering staff and network connectivity. More...

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:36:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:24:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 17th May, World Telecommunication Day, the ITU-T has launched a new communications centre, The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will provide a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T, shedding light on activities, past, present and future by offering non-technical explanations of work areas, news, features and FAQs. Included is an ITU-T newslog with an RSS news feed, with the opportunity to subscribed to news on specific standards topic areas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:05:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

VoIP and ENUM gives news on the first ENUM-based operational number range in Austria: "As already announced here one month ago, the ENUM-based number range +43 780 went into operation today. A short decription of the number range is available here. Anybody may register such a number, for available registrars see enum.at."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 8:06:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A review of market trends impacting the development of the applications architecture of the Internet in general is presented, followed by an historical review of the subject and an analysis of regulatory aspects. It concludes with a review of the state of backbone interconnection in Latin America. Carlos Silva Ponce de León, Telecommunications Policy, Volume 29, Issues 5-6 , June-July 2005, Pages 367-386

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:30:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Although currently mired in a standards war between different camps in the IEEE, UWB is likely to form the basis of an important short-range wireless standard for consumer equipment such as set-top boxes, high definition TVs and portable music systems. The ITU’s Radicommunication Sector is planning to draft ITU recommendations on the UWB standard at its upcoming meeting currently be held in San Diego from 18 to 27 May 2005. The group is due to hand its final recommendations to the ITU and disband after another meeting in October 2005.

However, nailing down the standard is just one of the challenges, some wish to keep UWB restricted to very low power levels at national regulatory levels which impact its potential uses and possible competition with other wireless technologies. An article in TechWorld (pointer via Fergie's Tech Blog)

discusses the doubts held by Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

If Europe and Asia apply more restrictions to the technology than the FCC in the US, the technology may not perform well enough to displace Wi-Fi, which is constantly improving, said Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

"I believe we will see regulations in Europe that are substantially more restrictive than those applied by the FCC," said Heile, in France for a conference on the ZigBee sensor protocol. "Japan is likely to be even more conservative. If that happens, how good is the performance going to be?

Watkins is hopeful that next week's meeting of the UWB group of the international telecoms standards body, the ITU, may help."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 8:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 12, 2005

Richard Stastny in VoIP and ENUM debates as to whether we need phone companies for VoIP:

"I want to pick up on the statement by Jon Peterson on slide 2 of his presentation at the ITU-T/IETF NGN meeting in Geneva I posted last week:

On the Internet, telephony is an application
– Not necessarily a service, no service must be provided This implies that if no service is provided, one does not need a service provider either.

Tom Evslin in the last? of his series of posts "As the Phone world Turns Part 9 - Do we need Phone Companies?" first gives a tutorial how VoIP and especially SIP is modelled after e-mail and from this comes to the conclusion:

Notice that most medium or larger size companies DO NOT use any outside servers other than DNS when doing email.

So three quick inferences for the phone world from the analogy with email:

  • consumers and very small business will continue to need someone to operate “voice” servers for them but that service is likely to be bundled AT NO EXTRA COST with ISP service or be “free” and advertising supported.
  • larger businesses will operate their own servers and will not require a service provider other than for DNS and basic connectivity to the Internet
  • There is no long term business model which supports charging by the minute for voice transport"

Now add to this the recent post from Tom Keating: "Traditional Telephony Dying at the Hnads of VoIP", where he cites a report from the Info-Tech Research Group:

  • "... that 23% of small- to mid-sized enterprises have already implemented VoIP technology and that number will grow to 50% within the next three years.
  • VoIP is displacing traditional telephony services a lot faster than anyone expected,” says George Goodall, Research Analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “It means a whole change to the look and feel of an organization’s IT infrastructure.”
  • While one network that handles applications and telephone calls is an IT manager’s dream, the speed with which VoIP is coming to the market might be an IT manager’s nightmare,” Goodall says. “Senior managers are demanding the cost savings associated with VoIP, vendors are scrambling to reinvent their offerings, and IT managers are scrambling to implement the technology.”

So "service providers" = "telcos" are left with the residential customer, and what they are offering there is not very exciting: it basically simple POTS replacement. The only one here going sucessfully into another direction is Skype.

So the (local) phone companies will be squeezed regarding services between enterprise DIY and cleverly branding and globally acting up-starts."

Thursday, May 12, 2005 11:10:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the April 2005 ITU News (free subscription required): International Internet Connectivity:  Are poor countries subsidizing the rich?, contents include:

  • Framing the issues
  • The ITU role: The story thus far... and the future
  • What does the Working Group on Internet Governance say?
Thursday, May 12, 2005 10:01:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ETSI has published two documents on ENUM approved at the January 2005 TISPAN Plenary:

  • ETSI TR 102 055 V1.1.1: Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN); ENUM scenarios for user and infrastructure ENUM.
  • ETSI TS 102 172 V1.2.1: Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN); Minimum requirements for interoperability of ENUM implementations. This document serves as the basis for the upcoming ETSI ENUM Plugtest.

[via VoIP and ENUM]

Thursday, May 12, 2005 9:15:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 10, 2005

News on VoIP regulatory proceedings since the beginning of 2005 from the ITU-D's Regulatory Reform Unit newsroom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:21:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 09, 2005
 Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The UK communications regulator OFCOM has done one of the first public consultations on the regulatory implications of Next Generation Networks (NGN), particularly with regard to BT's 21CN NGN initiative. The consultation document, entitled Next Generation Networks - Future arrangements for access and interconnection (overview,complete) explores the implications of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) for access and interconnection arrangements in the UK. The responses to the consultation are available here.

In BT's response to the consultation, it indicates some of its views on 21CN regulation:

Finally BT observes that some key aspects of the strategic positioning, NGN access and interconnect, are not addressed in Ofcom's questions. We wish to point to the following specific points.

  1. We would expect that NGNs will blur many of the boundaries all of us in the industry currently take for granted. For example, the distinction between "operators" and "service providers" will diminish; and one could foresee an increase in pan-European alternative providers leveraging their IP infrastructure using next-generation interconnection more effectively. Further, as the barriers to market entry are lowered through technology advances and open standards, we would expect many new entrants to change the landscape - some with innovative value propositions and others by identifying and exploiting new arbitrage angles.

  2. We believe end user customers will soon demand seamless, ‘any to any’ interworking between mobile and fixed networks. Operators will require the ability to roam on, and interconnect to, other national and international fixed and mobile networks in order to facilitate the provision of next generation services. The regulatory regime needs to become more technologically neutral and focus on economic bottlenecks, irrespective of the underlying network technology.

  3. We believe that innovative services will be heavily reliant on intelligent interworking to provide coherent services. Therefore, cross platform access (including roaming and interconnect) to intelligence capabilities will be essential in ensuring further development of services and competition in the convergent marketplace.

  4. BT is disappointed to see the level of potential regulatory intervention and micromanagement, both in commercial and technical terms, demonstrated in this Consultation. This is particularly inappropriate as it followed so soon after the second phase of the Telecoms Strategic Review, which promulgated a deregulatory agenda and a focus on regulating only bottlenecks. This Consultation also includes some substantive inconsistencies of approach which will need to be addressed.

  5. It is critical that the outcome of this - and any later - consultation processes should be a regulatory regime which rewards investment and does not leave BT with a significant proportion of the 21CN investment risk, whilst distributing the investment returns across the industry. Ofcom will wish to consider this issue as they contemplate the responses to the Consultation.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in cooperation with the ITU-T and ITU-D, is organizing a workshop on NGN Policy and Regulation in February 2006.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 4:32:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 03, 2005
 Monday, May 02, 2005

Richard Stastny has a post on his take on the 1-2 May 2005 ITU-T workshop on NGN in collaboration with the IETF in Geneva at ITU headquarters.

  • The workshop was very well attended (270 participants), both from IESG and IAB, and also from ITU-T SG groups and other standardization bodies (e.g. ETSI TISPAN). An indication of the high-level attendance can also be derived from the speakers list in the program.

Update: he has some further thoughts in a later post on the different visions of NGN.

[via VoIP and ENUM]
Monday, May 02, 2005 9:59:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 01, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005 11:22:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Richard Stastny in his VoIP and ENUM has an interesting post on the debate as to whether "SIP is dead" versus Skype versus NGN:

  • So the real fight will take place between the planned IMS NGN and the existing Skype NGN, having a headstart of approx. two years. If the IMS NGN will be able to catch up will be decided finally by the customer, because he will be able to choose on his mobile device if he is using the IMS NGN VoIP or the Skype NGN VoIP. Of course one can download a SIP client also on a Smartphone, try to configure it (good luck) and register with a free SIP provider, , in case there are any left. Then he may be reached via his SIP URI and also contact anybody with a SIP URI, if thery are any. Metcalfe's will be against this approach.
Sunday, May 01, 2005 9:44:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 29, 2005
The ITU-T has prepared a brochure giving an overview of ITU-T's H.264 advanced video coding standard. The increased compression efficiency of the new ITU-T H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) standard will lead to new application areas and business opportunities. Broadcasting over cable, satellite, cable modem, terrestrial, etc., will benefit from the new standard. It is now possible to transmit video signals at about 1 Mbit/s with TV (PAL) quality, which enables streaming over xDSL connections. Another interesting business area is TV transmission over satellite. By choosing H.264, the number of programmes per satellite can be doubled in comparison to current systems using H.262 (MPEG-2). Also, in the field of mobile communication, H.264 will play an important role because the compression efficiency will be doubled in comparison to the coding schemes previously specified by Third-Generation Mobile (3GPP and 3GPP2) for streaming.

The new Recommendation is destined to influence further application areas including but not limited to the following:

  • Interactive or serial storage multimedia (ISM or SSM) on optical and magnetic devices, DVD, etc.
  • Real-time conversational services (RTC), such as videoconferencing and videophone, over ISDN, Ethernet, LAN, DSL, wireless and mobile networks, modems or mixtures of these.
  • Video-on-demand or multimedia streaming services, such as remote video surveillance (RVS), over ISDN, cable modem, DSL, LAN, wireless networks, etc.
  • Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) over ISDN, DSL, Ethernet, LAN, wireless and mobile networks, etc.
  • Multimedia services over packet networks (MSPN), such as multimedia mailing (MMM), etc.
Friday, April 29, 2005 11:59:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The presentations from last month's ITU-T Cybersecurity II Symposium, hosted by RANS in Moscow, are now available, including presentations from:

  • Mr Herbert Bertine, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 17, presentation
  • Mr Igor Faynberg, Technical Manager, NGN Standards, and Technologies and ITU-T FGNGN WG 5 Leader, presentation
  • Mr Magnus Nyström, RSA Security, presentation
  • Mr Charles Brookson, Head of Technology and Standards, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), UK, presentation
  • Mr Igor Furgel, Common Criteria, T-Systems GEI GmbH, presentation
  • Mr Bill McCrum, Deputy Director General, Telecom Engineering, Industry Canada, presentation
  • Mr Hyun-Cheol Jeong, Senior Research Staff, Korea Information Security Center of KISA, presentation
  • Mr Gary Kondakov, Managing Director, Kaspersky Labs in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries, presentation
  • Mr Eliot Lear, Consulting Engineer, Network Security, CISCO, pesentation
  • Mr Alexander Pogudin, CEO of Center of Financial Technologies, presentation
  • Ms Amal Abdallah, Federal Communications Commission, USA, presentation
  • Mr Andrey Chapchaev, Director General, Infotecs, presentation


Friday, April 29, 2005 11:45:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 28, 2005

ZDNET Australia is reporting that Australian regulators have signed an agreement with Asia-Pacific nations to step up the war against spam.

Twelve Asia-Pacific communications and Internet agencies have joined the Australian Communications Authority in signing a memorandum of understanding -- the Seoul-Melbourne Anti-Spam Agreement --on cooperation in countering spam.

ACA acting chairman Bob Horton said the memorandum was "focused on sharing knowledge, information and intelligence about known sources of spam, network vulnerabilities, methods of spam propagation, and technical, educational and policy solutions to the spam problem".

Other agencies involved include:

  • the Internet Society of China;
  • Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau, Hong Kong (CITB);
  • Philippines Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT);
  • Philippines Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT);
  • the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC);
  • the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan (METI);
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan (MIC);
  • New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development (MED);
  • Taiwan Computer Emergency Response Team / Coordination Centre (TWCERT/CC) and;
  • the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Kingdom of Thailand (MICT).

The new document is based on an agreement signed in late 2003 between the ACA, the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) -- since renamed the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) -- and the Korea Information Security Agency.

Furthering cooperation among international initiatives in countering spam will also be discussed at the ITU's upcoming WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity which will begin with a countering spam day as a following up to ITU's meeting in July 2004 on countering spam.

Thursday, April 28, 2005 9:44:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 22, 2005

ITU-T is hosting a workshop on IPv6 organized in cooperation with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (IPv6 EU TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum. Here is the advanced programme.

Taking place in Geneva, between 22 to 23 June 2005, the event will examine the current status of IPv6, with regards to rollout, policy, technology and applications. An additional aim will be to promote awareness of IPv6 to countries where Internet use is relatively low. The workshop will also follow-up on recent comments sent to the Director of ITU-T’s secretariat, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on the management and distribution of IP addresses. .

Friday, April 22, 2005 4:59:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The March 2005 issue of Business Communications Review, pp. 20–21 has an interesting article entitled Which NGN? that debates different visions of the future of the Internet:

  • But this all could change. Major moves are afoot to radically alter the way the Internet operates. If certain organizations and people have their way, the Internet will evolve to look considerably more like the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or today’s mobile/cellular networks. And this could happen much sooner than you might think.
  • To facilitate this migration, many carriers started participating in a major international standards development effort. Working through an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Study Group, the carriers (with vendor and government assistance) are developing their own blueprint that they call the “Next Generation Network” (NGN). Intense standards work is under way at the ITU and other groups such as the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) to further the integration and interoperability of IP networks with the PSTN and mobile networks.
  • Architecturally, the ITU’s NGN relies heavily on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) framework, developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)/3GPP2 for 3G/UMTS and CDMA mobile networks. The IMS has been extended to cover wireline facilities, to create a converged, seamless mobile user experience. The ITU NGN also mandates IPv6, and uses traffic prioritization end-to-end to deliver service quality. It requires reservation and commitment of network resources before connections are established.

Although the article suggest a conflict of vision on NGN standards, this post also notes that the ITU and IETF are exploring ways of cooperating on NGN standardization. Both ITU's FGNGN (Focus Group on Next Generation Networks) and Study Group 13 (Next Generation Networks) are meeting in the coming weeks at ITU to advance NGN standardization.

Friday, April 22, 2005 4:55:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecommunications Magazine has an article on ITU's recent Ubiquitous Network Societies workshop.

  • So what does ubiquitous really mean? One take has a future where everything is connected to everything else by some type of wireless network. Alongside this is a future that sees superconvergence of everything from fixed to mobile networks spanning multi-platforms, multi-functions and multi-applications.
  • In short, it sounds like the long-held dream of all telecom professionals everywhere, providing services and applications to everyone regardless of their location. “Technology and network access will become an afterthought to daily activities,” predicts [ITU Secretary-General Yoshio] Utsumi.
Friday, April 22, 2005 11:04:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to an article in The Australian, the Australian Communications Authority will launch a year-long trial starting May 5, 2005 of ENUM, in conjunction with Australia's internet administration authority, AusRegistry.

Friday, April 22, 2005 7:59:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Houlin Zhao, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector presented ITU and IPv6 (PowerPoint) at the Global IPv6 Summit in Beijing on 5 April 2005. In a related article in China Daily entitled IP Address Supply Facing Crunch.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 10:04:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2005

ITU-T Workshop on NGN in collaboration with IETF will be held in Geneva at ITU Headquarters on 1 - 2 May 2005. The workshop will also serve as an important meeting point for ITU-T and IETF management.

The overall objectives of the workshop are to explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and IETF to further coordinate their work. Six sessions will each be co-chaired by an ITU representative and a representative from IETF. Topics will include requirements and functional architecture; nomadicity and mobility; QoS, control and signalling capabilities; network management; security capabilities and evolution.

The workshop, the second on NGN in 2005, is an example of the way in which ITU-T is seeking to engage all interested parties in work towards the development of worldwide standards for NGN. Objectives of the workshop include:

  • To explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations; and
  • To identify those areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and the IETF to further should coordinate their NGN-related work., and to seek to reach agreement on any actions to be taken to coordinate the work of the two organizations and perhaps establish joint activities.

Also see the ITU press release:

The objectives of the workshop are to report the progress of ITU’s work on NGN and explore specific issues that impact both the ITU and the IETF in order to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where action can be taken to make further progress.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau notes that, "We have made tremendous progress, thanks to the support of ITU members and members of other standards developing organizations such as IETF, ETSI and ATIS. The momentum that this work has achieved will allow the ICT industry to develop a raft of new products and services on a much more powerful and dynamic infrastructure based on globally accepted standards."

Monday, April 18, 2005 1:28:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 14, 2005

ITU Session on Internet Governance (PDF) was presented by Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, on 17 February 2005 in a session before the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG's) open consultations held at the United Nations. The subject of the talk was Internet Governance in context of evolution of telecommunications technologies and policies.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 11:50:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the Advanced Video Coding (AVC) Alliance: AVC is the new generation compression algorithm for consumer digital video. Compared to the current industry standard MPEG-2, AVC is at least twice as efficient at all bit rates. This means that AVC will open up channels to the end user that were previously closed for digital video services at the right quality. AVC offers significantly higher video resolution at the same bit rate, or the same video quality with half the bit rate that is required for MPEG-2. This will enable attractive new products and services to be introduced by all players in the value chain.

AVC is the result of work started in the ITU and in MPEG, completed in the Joint Video Team (JVT) made up from experts of the two organizations. The algorithm is published as H.264 by the ITU, while ISO/IEC published it as MPEG-4 Part 10.

The primary application of AVC is in new video services where MPEG-2 is less suitable, especially where limited bandwidth is available. Examples are mobile applications, IPTV over ADSL and HDTV in Europe, where spectrum is particularly scarce. Recently, the DVB Steering Board approved the AVC implementation guideline specification, which was prepared by the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) Technical Module. The specification has been sent to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) pending formal
standardization.

For more information, see Wikipedia's H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 9:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Recently ITU-T Study Group 2 (SG2) determined a a new draft Recommendation to clarify the management of the top level domain “.int”. The draft Recommendation (Word), named E.int (Word) is now considered stable and will be sent to the ITU membership. Unless comments are received, it would be expected to be approved at the December 2005 meeting of SG2. The draft Recommendation (Word) also contains a liaison from SG2 which has been transmitted to ICANN.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 11:39:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The ITU Council Working Group on WSIS held a meeting on 13-14 December 2004 discussing ITU activities relevant to the World Summit on the Information Society. The Working Group is to prepare, based on inputs of ITU Member States and Sector Members, as well as those of the Secretary?General and the Directors of the Bureaux and submit to ITU Council proposals on  necessary ITU actions to help accomplish the goals and objectives articulated in the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.

Some of the input documents to that meeting relate to Internet governance including:

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:51:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 12, 2002

"Sender-keeps-all" or "bill-and-keep" accounting mechanisms are simple accounting schemes common in the deployment of new telecommunication technologies. However, in asymmetric traffic environments or where highly diversified service offerings emerge (e.g. those requiring guaranteed bandwidth), these models tend to shift to revenue sharing mechanisms among operators and/or content providers. In some cases, this can lead to new market dynamics. One example is the success of NTT Docomo's i-mode service, which some argue is mostly related to its billing gateway technology, permitting revenue sharing and encouraging the growth of new external content providers.

Many previously "free" Internet services are shifting to subscription or metered-based schemes and there's a lot of standards activity underway focused on charging, accounting and cross-operator settlement schemes for IP-based networks. In the public switched telephone network (PSTN) world, which is focused on a single service, voice, accounting mechanisms are primarily built around call detail records (CDRs). In the IP-based world, the service offerings can be much wider (voice, email, web, streaming access), so the challenge has been to develop a more flexible format that can capture the relevant metrics for a wide range of service classes. An interesting development is the Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR).

ITU-T Study Group 3, who deal with tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues, are currently meeting at the ITU. At this meeting, the Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization (IPDR), has given an interesting presentation (PDF) on its latest activities, particularly with regard to the emerging Network Data Management Usage (NDM-U) specification. This is a development to keep an eye on in the future.

Thursday, December 12, 2002 12:24:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 12, 2002

New Architect Magazine has a pessimistic editorial view on ENUM. "Of course, no matter what the preferences, marketers are bound to abuse the directory just as they have the phone book, the Whois database, and any other public list of contact information." This echoes similar comments made by INTUG on ENUM: "The success of ENUM... will rely on millions of individuals being willing and enthusiastic about entering their details and maintaining their accuracy. Central to this will be confidence in the security and privacy of the records. If, as might happen, they are the subject of identity theft, of yet more junk mail or are the basis for slamming, then the systems will quickly be brought into disrepute and fail."

Wednesday, June 12, 2002 6:18:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |