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South Korea Assumes Lead in IPTV Standard

TelecomWeb reports that South Korea has assumed the lead in international standardization of IPTV technology, fielding a team of more than 30 experts from Korea Telecom (KT) and LG Electronics at the meeting of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Focus Group on IPTV (IPTV FG) in Bled, Slovenia.

The ITU IPTV FG was created just last year to give global standards a boost and to help address the market need for accelerated IPTV deployment. The group held its first meeting in July 2006. The IPTV FG's mission is to define IPTV, to review existing standards and ongoing work, to coordinate existing standardization activities, to harmonize the development of new standards and to encourage interoperability with existing systems where possible.

Its scope will include architecture, requirements, QoS, security, network control, end systems, interoperability, middleware and application platforms. The IPTV FG is expected to send standards recommendations to the full ITU organization.

The South Koreans came armed with seven proposed standards, almost all of them in one way or another using technology patented in South Korea. The country appears to be the only one fielding a formal national delegation in support of its vested interests, apparently taking on a major role in IPTV FG activities and hoping ITU standardization will kick-start the international sale of technologies.

The South Korean effort, which also includes 26 other proposals in addition to the suggested standards, is being coordinated by the country's Ministry of Information and Communication and the South Korean Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) standards development organization.

"Currently more than 300 service providers are already providing IPTV service, and also many service providers are preparing to provide it. There are very urgent needs for the standardization of IPTV service," the South Koreans said in a paper outlining their plan for IPTV standardization efforts by the IPTV FG.

The South Koreans have a distinct competitive advantage in their favor -- they are one of the few nations in the world that has both a comprehensive and clearly articulated government policy position for establishing and maintaining a growing presence in the global networked economy.

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