Broadband Forum: Record year for open standards

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A record year for the development of industry-wide standardised solutions and technical specifications (Open Standards), and open-source technology projects (Open Source), 2020 saw the Broadband Forum continue to support phenomenal levels of global growth in the number of fixed broadband subscribers.

As an ever-greater percentage of the world’s population come online at an ever more rapid pace, the importance of standards also grows – helping developers to bring new products and technologies to market and helping service providers bring them online faster. But the speed at which standards themselves are developed needs to keep up too. That’s why the Broadband Forum has become a driving force behind the acceleration of the combined use of both Open Source technology and Open Standards.

In 2020 the Forum published 25 technical reports, 14 application notes, test plans, marketing reports and market updates and had 24 new members and observers in attendance. In an unprecedented year, it held five vBASe events virtually covering all corners of the globe, and in addition over 20 separate virtual sessions in its educational webinar series, which addressed hot topics including PON, USP, 5G and convergence. Through the Cloud CO and Connected Home initiatives, the Forum showcased the strength of the organisation and signified the industry-wide support which looks set to continue growing.

“2020 has been a difficult year for many during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the broadband industry has risen to the challenge to address the heightened network usage,” said Broadband Forum Chairman, John Blackford. “As we look to the future, the Forum will continue to combine standards, innovation, and education to unlock the potential that broadband promises.”

Blackford also announced that, after 14 successful years in office, Robin Mersh has stepped down from his role as Chief Executive Officer to pursue a new challenge outside of the industry. Long-term Broadband Forum contributor and previous board member, Ken Ko re-joins the Forum as Managing Director and Craig Thomas moves into a new position of Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Business Development.

During Mersh’s leadership, total fixed broadband subscribers rose from under 300 million to over 1 billion. When he came into office in 2006, the dominant technologies were DSL and cable, but today it’s fibre. Since then, the Forum has continually evolved to ensure operators are fully prepared for the new era of 5G and the Connected Home. It has successfully launched Open Broadband software projects, several device Certification programmes and USP to enable a seamless, cost-effective migration for operators. Technical leadership has been coupled with a whole new approach to marketing where new BASe events, workshops and webinars were launched, taking the Forum’s work to the entire broadband community.

“It has been an honour serving the broadband community through some very exciting times. It has always been interesting and rewarding, but I am happy to leave the organisation in good hands,” Mersh added. “The work is cutting edge and continues to be ground-breaking for convergence, cloud services, service management, Wi-Fi, testing, certification and software. The future is bright, and I’ll continue to follow the Broadband Forum with great interest and pride.”

“I would like to extend my thanks and express the appreciation of the Forum’s membership to Robin Mersh who has played a pivotal role and provided an incredible service in shaping the Broadband Forum to be the well-regarded force in the industry it is today,” said John Blackford, Broadband Forum Chairman.

Under its new leadership, Broadband Forum will continue to build momentum across key areas spanning 5G, the Connected Home, Cloud and Access, and drive innovation across the industry. Broadband Forum continues to bring together Open Standards and Open Source software and unify it with agile, next-generation technologies for service providers across the globe, enabling them to build the foundations for smarter broadband networks in the future. Broadband Forum continues to make notable strides in a host of projects across the whole broadband ecosystem.


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