Telecommunications Standardisation Advisory Group - Geneva

The Telecommunications Standardisation Advisory Group (TSAG) of the ITU met on 3-7 July in Geneva. 
The participants in the meeting decided that the Focus Group on IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) should report to Study Group 13 (SG 13), dedicated to next generation networks (NGN). Bearing in mind that activity associated with IPTV does not only concern the NGN issue, it was agreed that, complementing this decision, the Focus Group should function horizontally to a certain degree and should, via SG, interact with the other study groups.

A decision was also made to set up a Joint Co-ordination Activity (JCA) titled ?Network Aspects?, which should also encompass issues involving radio frequency identification (RFID). The question of ITU involvement in the test and certification activity was considered. However, given the lack of consensus and the opposition of some developing countries to the CC (Correspondence Group) proposal, which suggested not doing anything (note that this is an area with major legal responsibilities where, as industry has warned, the ITU can only gain access with difficulty), a decision was made to recommend nothing concerning this matter.
The following also occurred at this meeting:
The last-minute proposal from the director of the Telecommunications Standardisation Bureau (TSB) was examined. It covered various political issues concerning the future of the Telecommunications Standardisation Sector (ITU-T), such as, for example, modified methodology to approach new topics, encouragement of those topics, functioning of the management teams, co-operation with other SDOs (Standards Development Organisations), namely greater involvement at World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly (WTSA) level and financial issues that directly impact ITU-T.

The following plans were considered: the TSB operational plan for 2006-2009 (approved by the 2006 Council) and, as regards ITU-T, the Union?s strategy plan (to be approved at PP-06). 
The way issues should be considered at ITU-T level in the future was examined, specifically those which are transversal and therefore involve various study groups. As this work was rather complex (not a peaceful issue for all administrations), at this meeting a CC was simply created to study the matter. This was in any case the proposal of some European countries.

The analysis begun at the previous TSAG meeting on the way to best use electronic means was completed and the guidelines for best practices in this area finalised.
The 2006 Council decision on publications policy was mentioned. It aims to boost the use of standards defined in the ITU and made it possible for technical Recommendations to be placed on the ITU website free of charge (though only during an experimental one year period). At the same time TSAG considered a number of practical aspects associated with the implementation of this Council Decision and gave a certain amount of advice to the TSB, basically on the need to not raise prices as it would make the process overly complicated.
Issues currently being studied under ITU-T were presented, specifically concerning RFID, grids and telecom networks and IPTV.

Note also that co-ordination at European level (under the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations ? CEPT) has been processed informally to date. However, as considered at the last meeting of the CEPT ITU Affairs working group (WG ITU), the group?s next meeting should formalise this co-ordination, with a view to the upcoming 2008 World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly (WTSA-2008).
Another question of a political nature taken up in this TSAG meeting was the continuation of interpreting in meetings of this advisory group. A first step may said to have been taken, though the situation of interpreting will most likely remain unchanged, at least in the first 2007 meeting. In this regard, it is noteworthy that even though interpreters were available for the Union?s six languages, the Chinese delegation spoke in English, the Arab group had only one representative, who also spoke English, and Spanish was the language of only two delegates, who made no speeches.

The next TSAG meeting is scheduled to be held from 27 February to 2 March 2007.