Nortel, partners launch broadband forum

Nortel Networks has announced the formation of the Broadband Content Delivery Forum (BCDF) with more than 30 partner companies. The forum will not concentrate on any specific broadband technology; rather, it will focus on recommending open architectures to deliver broadband content.

"This is not a technology forum," John Laycock, vice president, e-commerce at Nortel Networks Europe pointed out at a press conference here.

Instead of focusing on the nuts and bolts of broadband architecture, the forum aims to improve the online experience while opening up new ways for service and content providers to bring value to customers, Laycock said.

The forum operates under the premise that the general public does not care how broadband content reaches them, as long as it works. "When I go to the wash basin, I just want water to come out of the tap and go down the drain; I don't really care how the plumbing works," Laycock said.

The founding members of the forum range from access providers, such as AT&T and Qwest Communications International, to content providers, including the British Broadcasting (BBC) and CMGI's Altavista, to infrastructure vendors, such as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. The forum refers to this as "bringing together the broadband chain."

One of the main topics discussed by the members is the convergence of television and the Internet. "When we have TV-based broadband, it will look like television and work like the Internet," Hardy Heine, executive vice president for Bertelsmann Broadband Group GmbH & Co. KG said.

"It's like taking the massive bandwidth from television and combining it with the wonderful content from the Internet," added Marcus Bicknell, president, Europe, CMGI Operating Companies.

Although there are some key companies missing from the forum, most notably Yahoo, the members were quick to stop people from jumping to conclusions. "Most of the groups here have jumped on in the last month," Bill Joll, president, marketing solutions Europe for Nortel said. "We will be pressing other people and inviting them to join," he added.

The Forum's first quarterly global meeting will be in the US on May 25.

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