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The case of the FS-VDSL Focus Group

As a creative and fast response to accommodating the needs of its membership, ITU-T created a Focus Group under Study Group 16, known as the Full Service – VDSL (FS-VDSL) Focus Group. The formal approval took place in the meeting of Study Group 16 (Multimedia Systems, Services and Terminals) in October 2002, subsequent to the provisional establishment of the group in May 2002. The Focus Group prepared a number of technical specifications for the support of video-centric services in addition to voice and data – the so-called "Triple Play" that will enable provision of enhanced services over the copper local loop access. Subsequently, these specifications were approved by its parent Study Group as ITU-T Recommendations and a Supplement – and shortly after that, having accomplished its mission in about one year of active work, the Focus Group decided to terminate its operations.

How it started.
As a result of the Informal Forum Summit initiated by the TSB Director in December 2001, the Full Service VDSL Committee expressed a desire to move its work from a forum into a Focus Group under the ITU umbrella. Since its work is related to the provision of multimedia services, the Committee proposed that ITU-T Study Group 16 should be the parent study group for this Focus Group.

Discussions were held between the Director of TSB and the FS-VDSL Committee management immediately after the Informal Forum Summit and on 2 May 2002 TSB received a request from France Telecom (ITU-T Sector Member) for the creation of a Focus Group in SG 16.

The creation.
The Focus Group Review Committee (FGRC) met on 3 May 2002 and agreed to proceed with the next steps for the establishment of the FS-VDSL Focus Group, including a review of the legal and financial requirements. This initial procedural step was concluded with the announcement of the decision to start the group, which was done on 10 May 2002 by email, through the launch of a web page for the group under the ITU-T SG 16 web site, and a posting in ITU-T News.

The group starts working – even before formal approval.
After the FGRC’s OK and announcement (as per A.7’s requirements), the Focus Group did not waste any time and started its work to migrate the specifications produced under the scope of the FS-VDSL Committee into the Focus Group (June and September 2002). Two interim meetings were held and one Focus Group Technical Specification (FGTS) with five parts was developed.

Formal approval.
The next formal step was accomplished when SG 16 unanimously approved the creation of the FS-VDSL Focus Group during its closing Plenary on 24 October 2002. At that meeting, the Study Group also reviewed the standardization plan for the technical specifications developed by the Focus Group and agreed on a strategy for progressing them into Recommendations (see timeline table, below).

FGTSs turned into Recommendations.
After two drafting meetings, the group submitted Contributions to SG 16 containing the text for two draft Recommendations ) and one draft Supplement. These were subsequently approved under the operating rules of ITU-T Study Groups as ITU-T Rec. H.610 and H.611, plus Supplement 3 to the H-Series.

The Focus Group terminates.
About one year after its operations started, the FS-VDSL Focus Group had accomplished its mission to develop world-wide, consensus-based specifications that would enable triple-play over VDSL lines. Having realized this, the Focus Group transferred the responsibility for maintenance and further development of H.610 and H.611 to ITU-T SG 16 and terminated its operation in the end of 2003.

Timeline for the FS-VDSL Focus Group
10 May 2002
  • Initiation of Focus Group agreed by the ITU-T FS-VDSL Focus Group Review Committee.
17 May 2002
  • Agreement to initiate the focus group is posted on the ITU-T Web Site, and the study group membership and other study group chairmen notified by e-mail.
  • Agreement of the FGRC for the Focus Group to start working.
22-24 May 2002
  • Planning meeting of the Focus Group meeting held during the meeting of the FS-VDSL Committee (Oslo, Norway).
  • Draft working methods document prepared.
May-Sep 2002
  • Progression of the technical work by the FS-VDSL working groups
4-6 September 2002
  • First meeting of the Focus Group.
  • Focus Group working methods approved.
  • FS-VDSL documents approved as Focus Group Technical Specifications
  • Focus Group reviews future work:
    • Revisions to specifications
    • New specifications
    • Expected ITU-T Recommendations
  • Focus Group agrees on how to progress work on Recommendations
15-25 October 2002
  • Full meeting of SG16.
  • SG16 approves the establishment of the Focus Group.
  • Focus Group submits progress report (including its Technical Specifications) to SG 16.
  • No meeting of the Focus Group.
4-6 December 2002
  • Interim meeting of the Focus Group
  • Draft Recommendations progressed
5-7 March 2003
  • Interim meeting of the Focus Group
  • Draft Recommendation prepared and submitted to ITU-T SG 16 as white contribution
May 2003
  • Focus Group met in conjunction with the full meeting of SG16.
  • Recommendations H.610 and H.611, based on the FS-VDSL specifications, proposed for Consent (1st stage of approval process) and Supplement was approved.
July 2003
  • H.610 and H.611 approved
Additional information can be found in the links below: