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 Monday, September 19, 2005

Symantec has released its bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report in September 2005:

The Symantec Internet Security Threat Report is an analysis and discussion of Internet security activity over the past six months. It covers Internet attacks, vulnerabilities, malicious code, and future trends. This edition of the Threat Report, covering the first six months of 2005, marks a shift in the threat landscape. Attackers are moving away from large, multipurpose attacks on network perimeters and towards smaller, more focused attacks on client-side targets. The new threat landscape will likely be dominated by emerging threats such as bot networks, customizable modular malicious code, and targeted attacks on Web applications and Web browsers. Unlike traditional attack activity, many current threats are motivated by profit. They often attempt to perpetrate criminal acts, such as identity theft, extortion, and fraud.

Monday, September 19, 2005 5:11:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

SwissInfo is reporting that data-protection commissioners from 40 countries have called on the United Nations to prepare a binding legal instrument to enhance data protection.

A related press release and the final Montreux Declaration are available.

Monday, September 19, 2005 3:26:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee has released a staff discussion draft legislation (PDF) intended to replace the US Telecommunications Act of 1996.

According to the Committee's announcement, highlights of the staff discussion draft include:

  • "Creates common regulatory definition for broadband Internet transmission services (BITS) which includes Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modems, and other broadband services.
  • Ensures network neutrality to prevent broadband providers from blocking subscriber access to lawful content.
  • Provides a uniform, federal regulatory framework for broadband providers, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP), and broadband video providers, except in some areas where state or local rules still apply, such as rights-of-way.
  • Authorizes the FCC to determine that VoIP can be required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
  • Develops a streamlined franchising process for broadband video providers.
  • Applies many current cable video requirements to broadband video providers.
  • Allows municipalities to develop and deploy BITS, VoIP and broadband video services. However, municipalities can't provide preferential treatment for these services and must comply with all regulations governing private-sector providers.
  • Ensures that VoIP subscribers have access to 911."
Monday, September 19, 2005 12:51:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Top Problems of the Internet and How to Help Solve Them (PDF) by Kim Claffy: Top engineering and operational problems, why they persistently resist solution, how different communities are auspiciously reacting to the above, and implications for research, policy, and builders. Presented as invited keynote at AUSCERT 2005. An older version of this slideset was presented as a keynote address at the CENIC 2005 conference held March 7-9, 2005.

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:47:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In 2003, the Washington Post ran an article on how a Sean Gorman's student Dissertation Could Be Security Threat. His dissertation has now been expanded into a book entitled Networks, Security And Complexity: The Role of Public Policy in Critical Infrastructure Protection (Amazon link). A description of the book follows:

The end of the 20th century witnessed an information revolution that introduced a host of new economic efficiencies. This economic change was underpinned by rapidly growing networks of infrastructure that have become increasingly complex. In this new era of global security we are now forced to ask whether our private efficiencies have led to public vulnerabilities, and if so, how do we make ourselves secure without hampering the economy. In order to answer these questions, Sean Gorman provides a framework for how vulnerabilities are identified and cost-effectively mitigated, as well as how resiliency and continuity of infrastructures can be increased. Networks, Security and Complexity goes on to address specific concerns such as determining criticality and interdependency, the most effective means of allocating scarce resources for defense, and whether diversity is a viable strategy. The author provides the economic, policy, and physics background to the issues of infrastructure security, along with tools for taking first steps in tackling these security dilemmas. He includes case studies of infrastructure failures and vulnerabilities, an analysis of threats to US infrastructure, and a review of the economics and geography of agglomeration and efficiency. This critical and controversial book will garner much attention and spark an important dialogue. Policymakers, security professionals, infrastructure operators, academics, and readers following homeland security issues will find this volume of great interest.

Monday, September 19, 2005 10:31:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 16, 2005

This statement by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin indicates that he intends to propose the creation of a new Public Safety/Homeland Security Bureau in the FCC. This Bureau would coordinate public safety, national security, and disaster management activities within the FCC.

Friday, September 16, 2005 11:38:43 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)  #     | 

WSIS Press Release, 15 September 2005: World Summit on the Information Society - Tunis Phase Preparatory Committee 3 (PrepCom-3): The final preparatory meeting for the forthcoming Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society will take place at the Palais de Nations, Geneva, from 19-30 September 2005. The meeting, which is expected to welcome some 1'500 participants from UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and the media, will work to finalize the working documents of the Summit, scheduled to take place in Tunis from November 16-18. For full text see: 

Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:04:54 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

"I spent yesterday at a conference with the title eConfidence - Spam, Scams And Security and posted a short report. I mentioned that a major awareness campaign is due to be launched at the end of next month. It has been nine months in conception and creation and was planned under the name "Project Endurance", but it is being launched under the banner Get Safe Online. At yesterday's event, Tony Neate of the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit described the content as "outstanding", but so far the only public presence is one page on the web. As you can see from this page, eight companies have joined the Home Office and the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit to sponsor the campaign, but more sponsors are sought. I understand that the Netherlands and Norway have run similar campaigns against spam, scams and viruses. Anyone out there got any relevant information? I welcome this initiative. My concern is that there are now a variety of web sites and organisations providing advice on different forms of Internet content and activity - with some major gaps, such as harmful and offensive content -and what the consumer needs is a 'one stop shop' linking all these resources in a high-profile, user-friendly manner."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:13:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"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 Secretary-General, Yoshio Utsumi has presented a report to the ITU Council 2005 on ITU activities on Countering Spam.

"During the Geneva phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), spam was identified as a potential threat to the full utilization of the Internet and e-mail. Accordingly, WSIS participants recognized that spam is a "significant and growing problem for users, networks and the Internet as a whole" (WSIS Declaration, paragraph 37) and that, in order to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs, there is a need to "take appropriate action at both national and international levels" (WSIS Plan of Action, paragraph C5, d).

The acknowledgement that spam is a problem at the global level, contributed to the fostering of various activities in the field. Countries became aware of the need to take action on this issue, and recognized the fundamental importance of international cooperation and coordination."

For the full report click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 10:31:22 AM (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)  #     | 
 Monday, September 12, 2005

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in collaboration with the Attorney-General's Chambers of Singapore (AGC), has issued a second public consultation paper on the proposed Spam Control Bill in Singapore. The proposed Spam Control Bill includes, in addition to email spam, legal measures to manage mobile spam in Singapore. The Bill also proposes that anyone who suffers damages or loss arising from spam be given the right to initiate legal action against non-compliant spammers. The draft Bill also proposes that if found guilty, non-compliant spammers can be directed by the court to stop their spamming activities or pay damages to the affected parties.

Details on the proposed Spam Control Bill can be found on the IDA website.

This information was accessed through James Seng's blog.

Monday, September 12, 2005 5:01:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) recently announced a Public Consultations on Number Portability and as well as results of their Numbers Auction inconjunction with the launch of ENUM pilot trials. 

1. Public Consultation on Number Portability (pdf)
IDA intends to review the implementation for number portability for fixed line and mobile telecommunications services in Singapore. The review is in with IDA's policy objectives of promoting competition in the infocommunications sector to benefit of consumers and businesses in Singapore .

According to James Seng's blog; what Singapore currently has "Call Forwarding" and the country is aiming trying to move to "Onward Routing" or "All Call Query". Both will provide true number portability (ie, the Caller ID will match your number) but the true significance is in the efficiency of the system. If a small percentage of users do number port, then Onward Routing is more efficient and if a large percentage of users do number port, then All Call Query will be more efficient.

2. IDA Announces Results of Numbers Auction & Launches ENUM Pilot Trial
To ensure that Singapore's scarce number resources are managed in an efficient, objective and transparent manner, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced the results of its fixed-line, Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and mobile numbers auctions conducted in early September 2005. At the auction, 4 operators got "3" level number (ie. +65 3xxx xxxx).

To leverage on the convergence of Internet and telecommunications technologies and to take advantage of the wide range of applications supported by such convergence, IDA is also inviting companies to participate in an Electronic Numbering (ENUM) pilot trial to see how numbers can be used innovatively for multiple services in addition to IP Telephony. The IP Telephony numbers auction and ENUM pilot trial is a follow-up from IDA's launch of the IP Telephony and ENUM policy framework in June 2005. The framework is designed to facilitate the entry of companies interested in offering IP Telephony services in Singapore and is expected to bring about reduced costs and more choices in providing telephone services.

For further information, see the IDA website and James Seng's blog.

Monday, September 12, 2005 11:22:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is organizing a lunchtime parallel session on Developing a Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) that will take place in Geneva on Thursday 22 September 2005, from 13.30 – 14.45 hours at the UN Palais des Nations, Room IX, during PrepCom-3.

The Digital Opportunity Index is specifically mandated in the WSIS Plan of Action (para 28a). In this session, ITU will present a proposed methodology for the DOI, tested on 40 economies. The initial results are shown in the report Measuring Digital Opportunity, which was presented at the recent WSIS Thematic Meeting on Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Bridging the Digital Divide, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. More information on the methodology is available on the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) website.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005 1:37:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 05, 2005

The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) takes place this November in Tunisia. The third meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom-3 of the Tunis phase) will be held in Geneva from 19-30 September under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and is certain to attract many high-level participants from the world of ICTs (information and communication technologies).

With support from SDC, GKP, and UNDP-APDIP, dev.tv intends to take advantage of this gathering to stage a one-hour televised debate on whether ICTs can effectively help lift people out of poverty. The debate will be broadcast on BBC World to 275 million homes worldwide, and will also be streamed over the internet during the week of the WSIS.

Monday, September 05, 2005 7:34:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Roget Darlington points to a thoughtful speech on the future of content regulation, including broadcasting over the internet, by Richard Hooper, Deputy Chairman of the UK's Ofcom and Chairman of Ofcom's Content Board.

Monday, September 05, 2005 11:16:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Among other things, the report makes scenario-based demand projections focusing on the next 10 years but extending to 20 years, for cellular, fixed link, broadband wireless access, satellite and terrestrial TV broadcasting services, while concentrating on the major uses and users of spectrum below 15GHz.

For the full report click here.

This story was accessed through Roger Darlington's weblog.

Monday, September 05, 2005 11:09:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 30, 2005

An article recently published through China Radio International (CRI) states that China is working on a program to launch a telecom popularization service fund.

According to an official of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry, a common understanding on the launch of the fund has been reached, but there is so far no related timetable. This statement was made public at a seminar jointly sponsored by the ministry and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The article went further on to stating some of the outstanding questions that will need to be considered, including; "Where are the sources of the fund? How to use the fund? Who will benefit from the fund?"

"The telecom popularization fund means any person is able to afford telecom services at any place, and such service should take identical charge. China's Telecom Regulations also provide that telecom service operators shall implement telecom popularization services according to related stipulations of the state. The country has earlier set a goal of making all villages have access to telecom service by 2010 and making all households have access to telecom service by 2020. The telecom service access project was kicked off at the beginning of 2004, and by the end of July 2005, telecom service had reached 19,609 villages formerly without such access, which represented 52 per cent of the total task volume."

"China at present has six telecom operators, namely China Telecom, China Mobile, China Netcom, China Unicom, China Railcom, and China Satcom. They jointly shoulder the task of making all villages have access to telecom service. According to the plan, telephone service will reach 95 per cent of all administrative villages in the country by the end of 2005. But it still remains a question as to how telecom service will reach the remaining 5 per cent of villages. Some experts have proposed the establishment of a telecom popularization service fund to undertake the task."

To access the full article, click here.

China Radio International (CRI) is one of the "three central media organizations in China" along with China National Radio (CNR) and China Central Television (CCTV).

 

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 11:07:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, looks into the possibility to end RFID licence fees as an attempt to boost RFID development. RFID licence fees may be scrapped after Ofcom launched a consultation on making the technology available free of charge to supply chain users. Currently anyone developing or testing the technology has to pay an annual fee of £50 for every site that uses it.

"The European Conference of Telecommunications and Postal Administrations recommended last year that RFID be made free of charge to encourage further adoption. Ofcom is now seeking to allow RFID users to utilise the standard 865-868MHz radio frequency without payment."

René de Sousa, senior procurement specialist at CIPS, said: 'This can only be to the benefit of a more integrated use of technology and increase business efficiency and effectiveness.' He added that a Europe-wide exemption from fees would also aid the technology’s take-up. David Lyon, business manager for RFID standards body EPCglobal, said it would make trials cheaper and easier. 'It’s an administration and cost headache to get a licence,' he said. Tesco said it had anticipated the move and was already using the standard for its RFID trial."

"Chris Hopper, marketing manager at RFID printer manufacturer Printronix, said the plan would help to close the gap in adoption between Europe and the US. 'Legislative uncertainty has been one of the primary barriers to adoption.'"

Ofcom's consultation period runs until 12 September.

For the full article featured in the SupplyManagement TechZone online magazine, click here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:52:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, August 27, 2005

The ITU Standardization Bureau, ITU-T, hosted the 36th Joint Picture Experts Group (JPEG) Meeting, held in Geneva between July 18-22.

The JPEG, formed many years ago jointly by ITU-T Study Group 16 and ISO/IEC JTC1 Study Group 29, is renowned for its JPEG and JPEG-2000 image compression standards.

In ITU-T, Study Group 16 is home to all media coding work, such as the H-Series of Recommendations, and includes work done together with ISO/IEC's JPEG, and JPEG-2000 groups in image compression, as well as work done with MPEG in developing video compression standards such as H.264. ISO/IEC JTC1 SG 29 is the focal point in ISO/IEC JTC1 for image, video and audio compression standards. The meeting surveyed the progress of technologies broached in the previous JPEG meeting, held in Lisbon in March 2005, including image security in JPEG-2000 which is being addressed by JPEG’s JPSEC ad hoc group. The group is developing a standard that will enable protected images to retain JPEG-2000 system features, such as scalability. This new feature within JPEG images will allow international distribution of digital images containing encrypted content, while still retaining the ability to adaptively deliver content for a wide variety of devices with varying display capabilities. The meeting also followed up on JPEG’s Digital Cinema ad hoc group and its advances in developing profiles for JPEG-2000 digital cinema applications. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) organization has adopted JPEG-2000 for future distribution of digital movies to theatres. JPEG is working closely with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to standardize aspects of this future architecture.

The Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) workshop, 22-23 July 2005, which followed the ITU-T-hosted JPEG meeting, aimed to build upon the presence of JPEG and ITU-T SG 16 experts (who met July 26 - August 5 this year). The workshop reviewed existing video and image compression standards, their current applications, and future directions in the field.

More information on the workshop can be found here.

Saturday, August 27, 2005 8:31:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 
 Monday, August 08, 2005

Lessons from broadband development in Canada, Japan, Korea and the United States by Rob FRIEDEN, Telecommunications Policy Volume 29, Issue 8, September 2005, Pages 595-613:

Broadband network development does not always track closely a nations overall wealth and economic strength. The International Telecommunication Union reported that in 2005 the five top nations for broadband network market penetration were: Korea, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada. The ITU ranked the United States sixteenth in broadband penetration.

Aside from the obvious geographical and demographic advantages accruing to small nations with large urban populations, broadband development thrives when it becomes a national priority. Both developed and developing nations have stimulated capital expenditures for infrastructure in ways United States public and private sector stakeholders have yet to embrace. Such investments have accrued ample dividends including the lowest broadband access costs in the world. For example, the ITU reports that in 2002 Japanese consumers paid $0.09 per 100 kilobits per second of broadband access compared to $3.53 in the United States.

Economic policies do not completely explain why some nations offer faster, better cheaper and more convenient broadband services while other nations do not. This paper will examine best practices in broadband network development with an eye toward determining the optimal mix of legislative, regulatory and investment initiatives. The paper will track development in Canada, Japan and Korea as these nations have achieved success despite significantly different geographical, political and marketplace conditions. The paper also notes the institutional and regulatory policies that have hampered broadband development in the United States.

The paper also will examine why incumbent local exchange and cable television operators recently have begun aggressively to pursue broadband market opportunities. The paper will analyze incumbents's rationales for limited capital investment in broadband with an eye toward determining the credibility of excuses based on regulatory risk and uncertainty. The paper concludes with suggestions how national governments might expedite broadband infrastructure development.

From ScienceDirect via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

Monday, August 08, 2005 10:11:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |