Developing countries have the most to gain from using ITU standards that are now available for free.
The organisation has carried out a highly successful trial conducted from January-October 2007, during which about 2-million ITU-T Recommendations were downloaded throughout the world.
The aim of the trial was to “increase the visibility and easy availability of the output of ITU-T”.
Offering standards for free is a significant step for the standards community as well as the wider information and communication technologies (ICT) industry.
Now, anyone with Internet access will be able to download any of over 3000 ITU-T Recommendations. These are used by equipment manufacturers, telecommunication network operators and service providers throughout the world to drive the information society.
Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), presented the results of the trial to the 2007 meeting of ITU’s Council.
He says that not only had the experiment been a success in raising awareness of ITU-T, it would also attract new members.
Most importantly, he notes, it has helped efforts to bridge the “standardisation gap” between countries with resources to pursue standardization issues and those without.
“There has been very positive feedback from developing countries,” says Johnson. “Last year exactly 500 ITU-T Recommendations had been sold to developing countries; this year, after allowing free access, they have downloaded some 300 000.”
ITU-T Recommendations are developed in a contribution-driven and consensus-based environment by representatives of industry and government, with industry providing the most significant technical input.
A strong focus of current standards work is laying the foundations for the next-generation network (NGN). Other key areas include IPTV, ICT in vehicles, cybersecurity, quality of service, multimedia, emergency communications and standards for access, such as VDSL 2 (very high speed digital subscriber line 2), the newest and most advanced standard of DSL broadband wireline communications.