AT&T, Bellsouth, Verizon And CEA Announce Principles On Device Attacment
Guidelines Are Designed to Facilitate Retail Market for Devices Attaching to IP-Enabled Video Services.
Arlington, Virginia, 3/15/2006, As telecommunications providers begin to launch video services for consumers nationwide, AT&T, BellSouth, Verizon and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA#174) today announced a series of principles designed to ensure the commercial availability of devices that attach to Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled video networks. The companies joined CEA in unveiling the principles at a press conference held during CEA’s “Entertainment Technology Policy Summit” running March 15-16 in Washington, D.C.
“IP-enabled video networks will provide consumers across the nation with a revolutionary new way to access their favorite video programs when and where they want,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “In order to realize the full potential of this brave new world, consumers must be able to choose from the exciting array of innovative new devices being developed by consumer electronics manufacturers that attach to IP networks to receive video programming. We believe these principles will provide solid guidelines and help support an environment in which IP video can flourish.”
“AT&T is pleased to enter this agreement that promises to establish a framework between the consumer electronics manufacturers and Internet Protocol or IP-enabled video service providers to enable the commercial availability of devices that consumers can use in their home to watch IP-enabled video services,” said Dorothy Attwood, AT&T senior vice president, regulatory planning and policy. “We look forward to bringing a new entertainment experience to our customers by delivering programming that consumers want while protecting the rights of our partners in the content community.”
“As BellSouth continues to investigate IPTV, we are excited to endorse these principles,” said Jonathan Banks, vice president, Executive and Federal Regulatory Affairs for BellSouth. “They lay the groundwork for consumer electronics companies to both innovate and bring equipment to consumers that will increase the value of the IPTV experience.”
“This is a key step toward assuring consumers that the electronic devices they buy will work seamlessly with advanced, IP-enabled services now being designed and deployed, stated Susanne Guyer, senior vice president of Federal Regulatory Affairs for Verizon. ”Industry leaders like Verizon are pushing ahead with the open standards needed to make this type of interoperability a reality. Consumers’ interests are better served by voluntary marketplace efforts such as these rather than by government regulation"
Principles for the Attachment of Devices to IP-enabled Video Service Provider Networks
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon agree that consumers will benefit if they have the flexibility to attach a variety of CE devices to video service networks and consumer home networks. To provide consumers this choice over video service networks using IP-enabled technology, we believe that the following framework should apply to facilitate the existence of a retail market for such devices:
1. Nationwide compatibility. We will strive to achieve nationwide compatibility enabling CE manufacturers to develop devices that will operate nationwide on IP-enabled video service networks. We acknowledge that technical and economic realities may preclude nationwide uniformity among all networks. Nonetheless, we believe it is possible for video service networks to include enough nationwide commonality for CE manufacturers to design products in a cost-effective manner that will operate nationwide and across IP-enabled service provider platforms. There are two non-exclusive options to meet the goal of nationwide compatibility. The first option, more readily achievable in the short term, is attachment in a home networking architecture on the consumer side of a service provider device. Home networking attachment requires all IP-enabled service providers to support a common and mutually agreed upon set of home networking standards in leased equipment. Except to protect against electronic or physical harm to the network or unauthorized receipt of services, no technical specification, license, subscriber agreement, or other requirement should prevent consumers from accessing services across personal home networks. The second option is plug and play attachment directly to the IP-enabled network, which requires common protocols and standards for IP-enabled services as delivered to the consumer’s home. (IP-enabled video service provider networks include but are not limited to end-to-end IP networks and/or hybrid QAM/IP networks.)
2. Open standards. The use of open standards is critical so that CE manufacturers can play a role in the development of technologies necessary to build compatible devices. In this context an open standard is a standard developed in a forum that: (1) allows meaningful participation by all interested parties, (2) requires consensus (though not necessarily unanimous) decision making, (3) affords due process rights to all participants, and (4) openly discloses licensing terms which are at least reasonable and non-discriminatory. Standards created by ANSI-accredited bodies meet these criteria. An open standard does not necessarily mean a single national standard for attachments to IP-enabled video networks and may consist of a solution set of multiple standards that encompass a complete solution in a cost effective manner.
3. Reasonable licensing terms. To the extent that there are proprietary aspects to IP-enabled video service networks, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing terms should be available so that both CE manufacturers and video service providers are not unreasonably constrained from including necessary technologies within their respective products in order to ensure that CE devices can be connected to IP-enabled video networks, consistent with the other principles outlined herein.
Further, licenses for these technologies should not impose unrelated or unnecessary burdens on licensees, such as the inclusion or exclusion of additional features in products that are separate from the features related to accessing the services provided by the service provider.
4. Reasonable testing and certification procedures. Reasonable testing and certification procedures should be established so CE manufacturers and IP-enabled video service providers can obtain necessary approvals for products and can bring products to market in a timely manner. Product testing and certification should be transparent and focused on ensuring that devices conform to the applicable specifications, do not cause electronic or physical harm to the video service networks, and do not enable unauthorized receipt of service.
5. Reasonable terms of service for consumers. Service terms and conditions should reasonably allow consumers to choose among various CE products to access their video services as long as such products do not cause electronic or physical harm to the network and do not enable unauthorized receipt of service. Subscriber agreements should allow the attachment of devices that meet the technical, licensing, and testing/approval criteria described herein.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,100 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA’s members account for more than $125 billion in annual sales. CEA’s resources are available online at www.CE.org, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Defining Tomorrow’s Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.
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