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Broadband Forum embraces convergence

Just three years ago, the DSL Forum began work on its Broadband Suite that would enable rich media whether they travelled over DSL or some other form of connectivity.

Three years later, that project has changed the forum. Now, the group is called the Broadband Forum after merging with the IP + MPLS Forum to do better work on rich media issues and the Broadband Suite is in release version 3.0. "The goal is to align the core and the access architecture," Tom Starr, secretary of the Broadband Forum, told InternetNews.com.

He cited broadband statistics from Point-Topic which agree with the conclusions of the Pew Internet and American Life project: broadband is growing in spite of the recession.

There are now 24 million IPTV subscribers worldwide, Starr said, and the Forum is working on issues such as service assurance that are vital to the delivery of video to the home. The Forum recently issued guidelines for IPTV on ADSL2+ (TR-176) and on using L2CP for quality of service. (TR-147).

In other work, the Forum is working on standards for femtocells (TR-196) that enable cellular phones to use broadband networks for backhaul. For TR-196, the Forum worked with 3GPP and the Femto Forum.

He added that the Broadband Forum had a special meeting in February of 2009 on IPv6 issues, a topic that has been discussed in tech fora for years but that is now gaining some traction. "There are workarounds, one after the other, for IPv4, but the day of reckoning is coming," Starr said.

Looking to the future, the Broadband Forum will continue to work with other standards groups aiming to facilitate the delivery of services over a variety of networks, Starr said.

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