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 Friday, September 07, 2007

Standards produced by ITU — ITU-T Recommendations — are now available without charge. The announcement follows a highly successful trial conducted from January−October 2007, during which some two million ITU-T Recommendations were downloaded throughout the world.

The experiment’s aim was to “increase the visibility and easy availability of the output of ITU-T”. Offering standards for free is a significant step for the standards community as well as the wider information and communication technologies (ICT) industry. Now, anyone with Internet access will be able to download one of over 3000 ITU-T Recommendations that underpin most of the world’s ICT. The move further demonstrates ITU’s commitment to bridging the digital divide by extending the results of its work to the global community.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) Malcolm Johnson, presenting the results of the trial to the 2007 meeting of ITU’s Council, said that not only had the experiment been a success in raising awareness of ITU-T, it would also attract new members. Most importantly, he noted, it had helped efforts to bridge the “standardization gap” between countries with resources to pursue standardization issues and those without. “There has been very positive feedback from developing countries,” said Johnson. “Last year exactly 500 ITU-T Recommendations had been sold to developing countries; this year, after allowing free access, they have downloaded some 300 000.”

ITU-T Recommendations are developed in a unique contribution-driven and consensus-based environment by industry and government members, with industry providing the most significant input. A strong focus of current standards work is providing the foundations for the so-called next-generation network (NGN). Other key areas include IPTV, ICT in vehicles, cybersecurity, quality of service, multimedia, emergency communications and standards for access, such as VDSL 2 — very high speed digital subscriber line 2, the newest and most advanced standard of DSL broadband wireline communications.