Two major broadband organisations have joined forces to help further the evolution of high-speed internet services, and generate standard specifications for the industry.
The Broadband Forum and the IP/MPLS Forum have united under the Broadband Forum name, and will combine the core and access aggregation work of the IP/MPLS Forum with the local transport and digital home management specifications of the Broadband Forum.
The combined membership will total 220 companies, including most of the world's leading service providers, equipment manufacturers, chip vendors and industry bodies.
The new organisation will play an increasingly influential role in defining interoperable network equipment for local broadband access, advancing mobile backhaul solutions, and empowering the next wave of business services, IPTV, gaming and other applications, according to George Dobrowski, chairman and president of the Broadband Forum.
"Both organisations have played an important and highly valued role, as the world has grown into the broadband-rich society we enjoy today. Now, together, we can help guide the industry forward across an ever-widening range of technologies and applications," he said.
"We are very excited by the prospects created by this union of two long-standing and well respected specification bodies, and our dedicated teams are already working well together as we begin to put the new organisation into action."
As part of the merger there will be three main organisational changes. Firstly, Dobrowski will continue as president of the Broadband Forum, and Andrew Malis, currently president and chairman of the IP/MPLS Forum, will act as vice president. A combined board of directors will be established to oversee the transition.
Secondly, a new IP/MPLS and core working group will be set up within the Technical Committee area to continue the MPLS protocol work, and to address all new core related work brought into the Forum.
Lastly, a new IP/MPLS-focused position of vice chairman will be created in the marketing committee area, and new IP/MPLS 'ambassadors' will be available to represent the organisation via the speakers' bureau.
"As well as strengthening our global stance in the standards community generally, we will have more resources, wider expertise and the ability to make rapid strides in areas such as defining seamless end-to-end specifications, fostering greater interoperability, delivering enhanced quality of experience measurement, enabling greater mobile backhaul capabilities and supporting residential and business services," added Dobrowski.
"Our members' involvement will bring them even greater membership value, and they will have the opportunity to play an influential role in how the networks of the future evolve."
The move has been welcomed by industry organisations, most of which agree that the wider range of experience and technical resources will foster more robust and widely accepted standards.
"This union means we will all benefit from a greater end-to-end approach for network and protocol standardisation, and that includes end-to-end performance, interoperability, architecture and protocols," said Kevin Foster, head of wireline access at BT.
Basil Alwan, president of the IP division at Alcatel-Lucent, added: "The union is an important milestone in bringing together experts from across the industry to collaborate on specifications that will accelerate fixed and mobile network convergence, and enable a broad range of advanced business and consumer services."
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