Nortel Networks and more than 30 internet infrastructure, content and service providers said they will establish industry standards for sending video, phone calls and other content over the web.
Nortel, along with BT, AT&T's broadband and internet unit, Bertelsmann Broadband Group, Hewlett Packard, Qwest, Sun Microsystems and broadcasters such as the BBC and NBC's internet unit, formed the Broadband Content Delivery Forum (BCDF) to focus on communications architectures for broadband.
Missing from the group are Nortel's rivals Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies, although Nortel said the two companies have been invited to join.
By setting common standards, the companies hope to improve existing high-speed broadband services, and speed up the development of new products and services.
"We initiated the creation of the BDCF because we recognised that the evolving broadband internet will be fundamentally different from the internet as we know it today," said Anthony Alles, president and general manager of Nortel's IP services division.
Alles, who will initially chair the group, said customers want a place where they can access personalised services, data, applications and content, anywhere and anytime.
The forum will work on systems that allow service providers to recognise and provide personalised content and services to their subscribers, as well as mechanisms for a 'network log-in'. One of the proposals under review by the group is Nortel's personal portal technology for web based services advertisements and its personal content tunnel technology.
One analyst said the industry group complements the technical specification forums that are focused on standardisation.
"This is an exciting initiative for the industry," said Ron Westfall, senior analyst at researcher Current Analysis. "What is useful about the BCDF is that it brings together what are normally disparate players in the overall internet space to make the internet a valuable instrument in not only business applications but also for the consumer experience."
Other members include Akamai Technologies, CMGI, DSL Networks, Inktomi, Redo Ajato, Telstra, TVA Sistema de Televisao, Universo Online and Zyan Communications.
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