The Guest of Honour, Hon Minister or Mr.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be here to open this ITU Regional Seminar for the
Africa Region on Conformance and Interoperability Testing Centre(s).
I wish to express my deep gratitude to the Ministry of Communications (MOC) of
Ghana for hosting this event and in particular my good friend the Honourable
Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications.
As you know, ITU is in the business of producing international standards, not
national or regional standards but standards that can be implemented on a
world-wide basis. This means they have to have been accepted by the world
community and to do this it means we must satisfy the requirements of the full
ITU membership: 192 governments and over 700 private sector entities.
Our standards should provide interoperability so that users of products
developed according to these standards can make use of them anywhere in the
world regardless of who has manufactured them and who is offering the service.
Interoperability is an extremely difficult objective to achieve in the
multistakeholder environment we are now in. To address it we are implementing
what we call a conformity and interoperability programme.
There are four key elements: (1conformance testing to determine compliant
products (2) interoperability testing events amongst various manufacturers’
products implementing the standard(s); (3) capacity building; and (4) assisting
in the establishment of regional or sub-regional test centres in developing
countries. I am please to say that UNIDO has offered us its support in the
latter objective, and I am please that it is represented here at this seminar.
In future we need to ensure the development of testing specifications associated
with all new standards, and we need to define more interfaces where
interoperability can be tested. This will increase competition, decrease costs
and reduce the chances of being locked into a single vender’s product.
We are also putting in place a conformity database which will record information
on what products have been tested to ITU-T Recommendations. The demand for a
conformity database was simple: people want a database on the ITU website where
they can see what products have been successfully tested to ITU-T
To ensure the credibility of the database, tests must be carried out in an
accredited laboratory: first, second or third party; or be accepted by an
accredited certification body;or in laboratories agreed by those standard bodies
recognized by the ITU according to our Recommendation ITU-T A.5. Companies will
voluntarily input the data directly into the database which will be verified by
submitting a Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity issued according to ISO
We have started a programme of interoperability events. In 2010 we had Interop
events in Geneva, Singapore and India. Several IPTV manufacturers participated
to prove conformity to our IPTV standards and to prove their equipment would
interoperate with the equipment of the other manufacturers. This year saw the
first event to test for interoperability for the ITU-T G.hn – home networking
standard. We will, hopefully, have another event on this in August and more
events for IPTV in Dubai and Geneva.
These Interop events not only showcased interoperable products but proved that
ITU global standards in this important field are ready to go, and in fact are
already being implemented. Proprietary solutions may offer faster deployment in
the short term - but in the medium and longer term, buyers will be subject to
vendor lock-in with costly upgrades and reduced content and hardware choice.
The third element of the programme is human capacity building. We have held
events in Nairobi, Quito, Ecuador and Singapore and look forward to more
workshops and tutorials on the subject this year. Training and consultation
events on Conformance and interoperability issues including Guidelines for
building Test Labs will be conducted on a regional basis; in Africa and the CIS
countries during 2011 and in Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Arab States
The fourth element of the programme – and the subject of this event - is to help
establish regional or sub-regional test centres. We are currently working with a
number of countries that are interested in establishing these, and we have a
pilot project in Tanzania. We rely very much on the countries in the region or
sub-region agreeing amongst themselves on the location of the test centre.
Conformance testing measures how accurately a product implements a technical
specification. The degree of compliance helps vendors and users of the equipment
to evaluate how the equipment will perform in a network, where it will have to
integrate with other devices from a variety of venders.
Conformance and interoperability testing is important to identify non-compliant
and poor quality equipment, that maybe harmful to the network or even users.
For service providers, conformance and interoperability testing is also
necessary to reduce the probability of errors being introduced during the
network integration period, which would have a negative impact on deployment
Besides the financial costs associated with the resources required to support an
extended deployment schedule, other costs penalties could occur due to lost
market share and customers experiencing the impact of poorly tested services.
A set of Guidelines on building Testing labs for Conformance and
Interoperability of equipment and systems in developing countries is under
development in ITU.
We have begun work on the framework of a business plan for the long term
implementation of the programme which will provide environmental background;
pros and cons; a road map for the implementation of the actions; a budget; legal
aspects; study group actions; and partnerships for taking the work forward.
ITU is committed to working in consultation with all its membership and in
collaboration with other SDOs, forums and consortia on this important topic.
Conformity does not imply interoperability, but the chances of interoperability
are definitely higher if equipment has been shown to conform to a standard.
Pursuing activities that create better conformance and interoperability will
ensure more effective use of resources offered by modern ICTs and help towards
ITU’s mission to Connect the World.
I would like to thank you all for your participation. I am sure the dialogue
over the next three days will help considerably with the implementation of
WTSA-10 Resolution 76, WTDC Resolution 47, and the PP-10 Resolution 177
I wish you a successful and enjoyable seminar, and thank once again our very
kind hosts for their excellent hospitality and friendship, which you can always
be sure of in Ghana.
Thank you for your attention.