Letter to the editor: ETSI clarifications
Friday 06 July 2012
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has sent us the following clarifications: The article on European standardisation ‘Debate on special rules for ICT’ in issue 4428 of
Europolitics presents an interesting angle of view, yet we would like to bring the following to the attention of the readers. You write that “due to the lack of specialist expertise, most standards related to information and communication technologies (ICT) are not developed by European standardisation bodies but by global fora and consortia”. You may be interested to know that ETSI (
www.etsi.org) is based in the EU and with 760 members from 62 countries it develops ICT standards for areas such as mobile communications (the smartphone you have in your pocket), smart cards, machine to machine, cloud computing, intelligent transport, smart cities, etc.
Indeed, since ICT standardisation is increasingly complex and “convergent,” ETSI works with 70-plus “global fora and consortia” to produce standards that will enable the development of profitable ecosystems in all these areas. Based in Sophia Antipolis, France, ETSI also founded and hosts the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project,
www.3gpp.org), a global partnership which with standards organisations from the US, Japan, China and Korea develops the standards for 4G LTE. This is for the “global” versus European aspect. By the way, this assumption that initiatives coming from anywhere else than the EU are “global” while international initiatives originating in the EU remain forever “European” is an interesting mystery.
With regard to the role of fora/consortia: ICT standardisation is and will increasingly be a multiparty game. Convergence between sectors that used to operate separately, technical developments and emergence of new players are broadly speaking the main reasons for that. So end-to-end standards coming from one single organisation are something of the past and the question is that of the terms of the collaboration between standards makers rather than a “quarrel between ancient and moderns,” ie formal organisations versus fora and consortia.