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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

ITU sets standards for Internet TV

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set for the first time, a global standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV).

Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU, Mr. Sanjay Acharya, informed that the standards were built with technical contributions from leading service providers and manufacturers from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to concretise ITU’s role as the global leader in IPTV standards development.

He explained that IPTV is one of the most highly visible services to emerge as part of the development of Next-Generation Networks (NGN).

“Indeed, it is seen as both the business case and principal driver for accelerating deployment of NGN,” he said.

The new standards, according to him, were developed by the Focus Group on IPTV (FG IPTV) in ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T).

A press statement made available to Champion Infotel and endorsed by Mr. Acharya, quoted the Director, ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Mr. Malcolm Johnson as saying, that standards are crucial for IPTV to reach its market potential and global audience.

“They’re necessary in order to give service providers — whether traditional broadcasters, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cable operators or telecoms service providers, control over their platforms and their offerings,” Mr. Johnson said.

He stressed that standards will encourage innovation, help mask the complexity of services, guarantee quality of service, ensure interoperability and, ultimately, help players remain competitive.

This development is coming on the heels of the seventh and final meeting of FG IPTV hosted in Malta by the Maltese Ministry for Competitiveness and Communications.

Speaking at the occasion, Minister for Competitiveness and Communications, Mr. Censu Galea, said, the stage of work that sees completion lays the groundwork for an area of ICT that some predict could attract up to 100 million subscribers in the next three years.

“It’s easy to see why so many of the world’s key ICT companies have been keen to progress this work in ITU. Malta is proud to host this event and play a part in advancing this important technology,” he said.

Additionally, contained within the documents produced by the Focus Group are the high-level architecture and frameworks needed by service providers in order to rollout IPTV services.

ITU’s next phase of IPTV work is touted to be on the IPTV-GSI (Global Standards Initiative), which tends to centre on the speedy preparation of standards based on documents produced by FG IPTV as well as on the detailed protocols required.

Between 2006 and 2007, ITU has focused on numerous physical and electronic meetings as well as workshops thereby perfecting work on IPTV worldwide, just as about 21 documents covering IPTV requirements, architecture, quality of service (QoS), security, digital rights management (DRM), unicast and multicast, protocols, metadata, middleware and home networks will be submitted to the ITU-T Study Group charged with progressing and distributing the work.

The IPTV-GSI will build on the momentum generated over the past 20 months, and it is foreseen that contributions and participation will continue to increase.

Operators consider IPTV a key element of a triple-play package of voice, video and data services. Standardization is imperative if service providers are to offer high quality products with value-additions, such as video-on-demand services that will inevitably drive the market.

Whereas, a combination of voice, Internet and video services over a single broadband link and from a single provider is foreseen as the ultimate goal of the broadband revolution.

FG IPTV benefited from collaboration with all ITU-T Study Groups and other forums and regional standards bodies, including ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF), DSL Forum, the DVB project, ETSI TISPAN and the Home Gateway Initiative (HGI).

Even as the first meeting of IPTV-GSI will convene in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 15 to 22 January 2008.

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