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 Monday, January 30, 2006

November 2005 saw the approval of 34 Recommendations bringing the total number approved under the so-called Alternative Approval Process (AAP) to over 1000. 

AAP is a fast-track approval procedure that was developed to allow standards to be brought to market in the timeframe that industry now demands. 

Among the 34 Recommendations that were approved in November were three relating to QoS in Internet Protocol (IP) based networks, one relating to a new generation digital cinema technology called LSDI, and one on digital rights management in home networking systems.

With a majority of its membership from the private sector, ITUís standardization arm - ITU-T - understands the crucial balance between rapid delivery, quality and stability in standards development. AAP is designed to make sure that draft standards reach approved Recommendation status as quickly as possible while maintaining the highest degree of transparency. With approved global standards in place, network operators will have the confidence to rollout new generation services quickly and efficiently.

Besides streamlining the underlying procedures involved in the approval process, an important contributory factor to the success of AAP is computerisation. With this process, once a meeting considers that a draft Recommendation is ready for approval, it is posted on the ITU- T website, the membership is informed that the approval process has begun and the rest of the process can be completed electronically in the vast majority of cases with no further physical meetings.

This dramatic overhaul of standards-making by streamlining approval procedures was implemented in 2001 and is estimated to have cut the time involved in this critical aspect of the standardization process by 80 to 90 per cent. This means that an average standard which took around four years to approve and publish until the mid nineties, and two years until 1997, can now be approved in an average of two months, or as little as five weeks. At present, more than 3100 ITU-T Recommendations are in force and around 210 new and updated Recommendations are produced each year, that's nearly one for every working day.

The introduction of AAP also formalizes public/private partnership in the approval process by providing equal opportunities for both Sector Members (members coming from industry) and Member States in the approval of technical standards.

More information on the AAP can be found here