PacketCable™ Royalty-Free IPR Pool Created
Louisville, Colorado, October 28, 1998—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) announced that more than a dozen key companies have joined a royalty-free pool for intellectual property rights (IPR) in the proposed PacketCable™ interface specification.
The companies that have signed the agreement, and are participating actively as vendor authors of the PacketCable™ specification, are 3Com, 8X8, Bellcore, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Com21, LANcity, Motorola, Netspeak, Transnexus, VideoServer, and VocalTec.
The vendor authors have agreed to help CableLabs and its member companies draft a specification for interoperable interface requirements. Products meeting these requirements would allow cable operators to use Internet Protocol (IP) technology to deliver telephone calls, video-conferencing, and other advanced packet voice and video services over two-way cable networks.
"This is a tremendous step for the cable industry and the PacketCable™ process," said Dr. David Reed, CableLabs vice president, strategic assessment and the CableLabs staff member who has headed the PacketCable™ project. "CableLabs is confident that by having the IPR pool defined early in the process, it will help reduce the uncertainties vendors may encounter in producing PacketCable™ products," Reed said.
"This is a great industry achievement," said Mark Coblitz, vice president of strategic planning for Comcast and head of the PacketCable™ initiative. "As I have said before, deploying PacketCable™ product is still some distance in the future, but having an IPR pool now will help speed us to that deployment date," he added.
CableLabs' goals in creating the PacketCable™ specifications are to define open interoperable interfaces to which any company can build products and to encourage their broad and uniform adoption across the industry. The PacketCable™ specifications do not require any specific product implementations, thereby leaving the vendors free to compete equally in an open and competitive market.
Any company desiring to build a PacketCable™-compliant product will be able to include the PacketCable™ interfaces in their products on a royalty-free basis if they sign the agreement. For example, Arris Interactive, Broadband Access Systems, Hybrid Networks, Phasecom, Tellabs, and Vienna Systems have also signed the agreement to join the IPR pool and are now eligible to be vendor authors. More companies are expected to join.
This pool is modeled after the royalty-free pool created for high-speed data modems as part of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) project.
The PacketCable™ specification will be released in stages, with the first group of specifications scheduled to be issued in December 1998. These initial standards will define key interfaces necessary to enable vendors to build a broad spectrum of IP telephony products.
Follow-on specifications—to be completed in stages during the first half of 1999—include interfaces necessary to speed the integration of additional consumer devices such as PC's, as well as to provide cross-domain coordination and network management.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains additional web sites at www.cablenet.org and www.ebif.tv.
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