|International Telecommunication Union
For immediate release
|Telephone: +41 22 730 6039
Fax: +41 22 730 5939
Agreement reached on 56K Modem standard
Geneva, 6 February 1998 — The International Telecommunication Union agreed today on the technical
specifications for PCM modems (also known as 56K modems) and has initiated the formal approval process.
The ITU, a United Nations agency, coordinates global communications standards. Study Group 16 of
the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) where the work on the modem standard was carried out, drives the
development of standards for multimedia systems.
The new Recommendation, designated V.90, is expected to be widely used for applications such as
Internet and on-line service access. V.90 modems are designed for connections which are digital at one end and have only one
digital-to-analogue conversion. Download speeds of up to 56,000 bits per second (bit/s) are possible, depending on telephone
line conditions, with upload speeds of up to 33,600 bit/s. Manufacturers currently producing modems based on proprietary schemes
have already stated they will rapidly migrate to the new standard.
According to industry analysts, the ITU agreement will boost modem sales significantly.
VisionQuest 2000, a market researcher, estimates the number of modems shipped each year likely will rise to 75 million by the
year 2000 from 50 million in 1997.
Work began on the development of V.90 (previously referred to as V.pcm) in the ITU-T in March
1997. "This is the shortest period of time ever taken for an ITU-T modem Recommendation to achieve ‘determination’
approval status, and demonstrates a commitment by the ITU-T to respond quickly to urgent market needs", said Mr. P.-A.
Probst, Chairman of Study Group 16.
The V.90 modem harmonizes the two competing proposals submitted last year. Customers who have
purchased 56kbps modems based on either technology may be able to get software to make their devices compatible with the new
ones developed on the V.90 standard.
Note to Editors:
The Study Group has agreed to apply the approval procedure under which the draft text is circulated to all ITU-T members
to determine whether the Study Group is to be assigned the authority to give it final approval ("decision") at its
next meeting. After unanimous approval by the Study Group, the standard takes effect. For the V.90 draft standard, the
"decision" step is scheduled for September 1998.
For more information, please contact: