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Where Is TelcoLabs?

11:45 AM -- I read news of a new IPTV standard from the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) earlier this week with great interest. The ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF) published its "Network Attachment and Initialization of Devices and Client Discovery of IPTV Services,” also known as ATIS-0800017. It specifies the preparation of consumer devices to receive IPTV services.

I applaud ATIS for what it's doing with IIF. But the cold reality for the telco TV community is that lack of a true industry-wide standards body is creating a world of hurt for many a telco TV service provider. I try to talk often with actual service providers, and a recurring theme I hear is an undercurrent of frustration concerning systems integration and interoperability challenges -- the very issues that an effective standards regime works to address. Could telco TV deployments be further along today if effective telcoTV standards were in place?

Contrast this scenario with the cable industry, which had the foresight to fund and create the venerable Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) two decades ago. That investment is paying huge dividends for the cable industry, which, in my opinion, has contributed to its relative success in telephony and broadband products. I don’t think it’s blind luck that cable companies find it much easier, from a technical perspective, to get into the telephony business, than telcos find it to get into the video business.

I’ll admit, it’s not a pure apples-to-apples comparison (telephony to video), but the presence of CableLabs has surely given the cable industry an advantage -- an advantage they are exploiting quite well. As we move into the next generation of telco TV and broadband/wideband, will the lack of a true TelcoLabs equivalent put the telco industry at a serious disadvantage?

— Bernardin Arnason, Managing Partner, Pivot Group , and Chairman, TelcoTV 2008


Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to TelcoTV 2008, a conference and expo that will examine the convergence of communications and entertainment, and its impact on service providers from across the globe, to be staged in Anaheim, Calif., November 11-13. For more information, or to register, click here.


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