Fall 2002  

A Word from Steve
Once again, the Standards Bulletin features lots of progress in standards development and further insight on the legal issues facing standardization. I’d like to particularly note the work of the Construction and Maintenance Subcommittee (CMS) under Fred Wilkenloh. This group has reconstituted itself over the last 18 months, and you can read here about its newly available coax construction manual and the beginning of its revisions to the industry’s guide to graphic symbols. CMS is also close on a standard for environmental parameters. Keep up the good work!

Welcome Newest Members
The SCTE Standards Program now has 118 members with the addition of:
Williams Communications
Pangrac & Associates
Radiant Communications
Lode Data

Coax Construction Manual Available
Recommended Practices for Coaxial Cable Construction and Testing (Second Edition), a product of the Construction and Maintenance Subcommittee, is now available through the SCTE Bookstore at www.scte.org.

Meet the Subcommittee Chairs
With Dave Fellows, DSS in Experienced Hands
The Data Standards Committee (DSS) is responsible for the highly publicized DOCSIS™ standards for cable modems and IPCablecom for services such as Internet telephony. Dave Fellows, the chair of DSS, is currently chief technology officer (CTO) of AT&T Broadband. He was recently appointed CTO for AT&T Comcast, effective upon completion of the merger. In this position, he will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s technical operations. Dave is also chair of the CableLabs® DOCSIS™ Certification Board.

Before joining AT&T Broadband, Dave was a principal in Pilot House Ventures, where he maintained relationships between investors and entrepreneurs, providing companies with strategic advice and industry-specific knowledge and resources.

In addition, Dave served as the interim chief technology officer for Roadrunner, the high-speed data joint venture formed originally by Time Warner and MediaOne Group. He also served previously as chief technology officer for U S WEST Media Group and as senior vice president of engineering and technology for both MediaOne and its predecessor company, Continental Cablevision.

He also served Scientific-Atlanta as president of the transmission systems business division, and Siemens Transmission Systems as vice president of technology.

Dave graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and applied physics. He earned his master’s degree in engineering from Northeastern University and completed post-graduate work at Harvard Business School.

In 1996, Dave was named Telephony magazine’s Fiber Optic Visionary and CED magazine’s Man of the Year. In 2002, he received the Vanguard Award at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s (NCTA) annual show.

Outside Standards Efforts
A number of activities are taking place in other standards organizations that may interest the organizations that are members of SCTE’s program.
  • The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has announced a program to revise TIA/EIA-570-A, Residential Telecommunications Standard. This standard addresses homeowner needs associated with high-speed Internet, home theater, video surveillance, and other home-networking topics. The SCTE IPS Subcommittee is establishing a liaison with this group; contact Brian James at 905-655-4073 or brian.james@ieee.org for more details.
  • Technical Committee 100, Audio, Video and Multimedia Systems and Equipment, of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has established a new technical area—Multimedia Home Server Systems—with projects on an application program interface for universal disk format-based file systems and a home server conceptual model. It is expected the group will be formally constituted at the TC 100 plenary in October. For further details, contact Steve Oksala at 610-524-1725, ext. 204, or at soksala@scte.org.
  • ISO/IEC JTC 1 (Joint Technical Committee 1, a joint committee of ISO and IEC) Subcommittee 29 Working Group 11 is the official name for the group usually referred to as “MPEG” because they are responsible for the MPEG standards. In March the group issued its fourth call for proposals in the suite of standards known as MPEG-21. This call was for Digital Item Adaption (DIA). DIA, with a rights data dictionary and a rights expression language, provides tools to enable the association of permissions for content. Content protection is the hot topic in MPEG now, and you can learn more from the SC 29 Web site at http://www.jtc1.org. U.S. participation in MPEG work is done in INCITS Technical Committee L3 (http://www.ncits.org/tc_home/l3.htm).
  • JTC 1 has also initiated new work on Fibre Channel—Audio Video (FC-AV) map formats defined by ITU-R BT-601, SMPTE standards, and MPEG to fibre channel. Additional information is available from Steve Oksala at 610-524-1725, ext. 204, or at soksala@scte.org.
  • Hitachi, Panasonic, Image, Sony, Thomson, and Toshiba have announced the formation of a group to define “the next-generation digital interface specification for consumer electronics”—the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). Further information on the group is available at http://www.hdmi.org.

SCTE International Activities
Standardization is becoming increasingly global, and the SCTE Standards Program is on top of that trend. The Engineering Committee recently established the Chairman’s International Advisory Committee (CIAC) to advise the Engineering Committee on international matters and standards. The group is chaired by Tony Werner of Liberty Media.

SCTE subcommittees are also active globally. DSS has submitted CableLabs® document Metadata Requirements on Cable Networks for Video-on-Demand and the DOCSIS™ 2.0 RFI and OSSI specifications to ITU Study Group 9 through the U.S. State Department, and the SCTE Hybrid Management Sub-Layer Subcommittee (HMS) has voted to send SCTE standards 25-1, 25-2 and 25-3 to TC 100 of IEC through the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for TC 100.

NIST Report on Wireless Security
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed an initial security guideline examining the benefits and security risks of 802.11 wireless local area networks, bluetooth ad hoc networks and handheld devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). The full text of the draft, NIST special publication 800-48, Wireless Network Security: 802.11, Bluetooth, and Handheld Devices, is available at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts.html.

Since the last issue of the Standards Bulletin, the SCTE Engineering Committee has approved the following as SCTE standards:

SCTE 38-5, HFC Outside Plant Status Monitoring MIB
SCTE 42, IP Multicast for Digital MPEG Networks
SCTE 65, Service Information Delivered Out-of-Band for Digital Cable Television
SCTE 67, Applications Guidelines for SCTE 35 2001
SCTE 49, Test Method for Velocity of Propagation
SCTE 62, Measurement Procedure for Noise Figure
SCTE 24-14, 24-15, 24-16, and 24-17, IPCablecom Part 14: Primary Line Support;Part 15: Interdomain Quality of Service; Part 16: Management Event Mechanism; and Part 17: Audio Server
SCTE 22-2
and 22-3,
DOCSIS™ 1.0 Part 2: Baseline Privacy Interface; and Part 3: Operation Support System Interface
SCTE 23-1
and 23-2,
DOCSIS™ 1.1 Part 1: Radio Frequency Interface; and Part 2: Baseline Privacy Interface Plus

ANSI has approved SCTE standards 36, 37, 38-1, 38-2, 38-3, 38-4, 38-5, 38-7, 38-8, 45, 46, 53, 54, 55-1, 55-2 and 65 as American National Standards.

This brings the total as of mid-August 2002 to 82 approved SCTE standards, 64 of which have been approved as ANSI standards.

New Working Group on Symbols
A new Graphic Symbols Working Group has been formed in the CMS Subcommittee to update the 1985 NCTA/SCTE Graphic Symbols for Cable Television document. This new document will provide standard symbols for devices commonly used in cable telecommunications installations. The working group held its initial meeting during SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2002 under the leadership of Sally Kinsman of Motorola, a member of the SCTE Board of Directors. This meeting was standing room only as 33 representatives from 21 companies attended. The group held a follow-up meeting in Denver in July, and is well on its way to producing a new SCTE standard.

Standards and the Law
Two significant actions have taken place since the last issue of the Bulletin that have an impact on all standards development.

On the antitrust front, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged Rambus, Inc. with “violating federal antitrust laws by deliberately engaging in a pattern of anticompetitive acts and practices that served to deceive an industry-wide standard-setting organization, resulting in adverse effects on competition and consumers.” Rambus is alleged to have knowingly failed to notify the JEDEC organization that it had patents essential to the implementation of a JEDEC standard. Further details are in the FTC’s press release from June 19, available from its Web site at http://www.ftc.gov. (JEDEC is formerly known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council.)

The other action came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case of Veek vs. Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI). In the ruling (available from the SCTE staff) the court decided that when a standard is incorporated into law, the standards developer loses his copyright protection—even though the developer had nothing to do with that incorporation. The legal principle is that “the law” must be freely available to those to whom it applies. SBCCI develops model building codes; when a municipality in Texas adopted one, a town resident bought a copy from SBCCI and posted it on his Web site. SBCCI, which gets a substantial portion of its revenue from the sale of its codes, brought suit; they won at the lower court, but lost in the appeal. There was strong dissent from a number of the appeals court judges, however, and it is likely that this will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the ruling stands, it will have a significant effect on standards developers since any governmental entity can simply take the rights to a standard by adopting it into law.

European Telecommunications Directives
The European Union Council has adopted a series of directives (European-level law) that addresses the implementation of telecommunications systems. The series includes a common framework for networks and services. These include requirements for digital television; authorization of networks and services; access to networks and associated facilities; regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy; universal service; processing personal data and the protection of privacy; and the implementation of a top level domain for “.eu.” “Dot eu” is used like “dot com” and is used for the whole of the European Union. Copies are available upon request to standards@scte.org.

The following information outlines our standards development structure; for the most up-to-date meeting schedule information, visit the Standards section of the Web site at www.scte.org.

Engineering Committee
focus: Management of the SCTE Standards Program
chair: Dan Pike (Classic Cable)

Cable Applications Platform Subcommittee (CAP) 
Standards for applications platform development
Jean-Pol Zundel (Comcast)

Construction and Maintenance Subcommittee (CMS)
Standards for the basic construction and design of cable television systems,
          including upgrades and rebuilds

Fred Wilkenloh (CommScope)

Data Standards Subcommittee (DSS)
focus: Standards for data services delivery
chair: David Fellows (AT&T Broadband)

Digital Video Subcommittee (DVS)
focus: Standards for digital video signal delivery
chair: Dr. Paul Hearty (Hearty Technology Consultants)

Emergency Alert Systems Subcommittee (EAS)
focus: Cable television's participation in the EAS program
chair: Don Watson

Hybrid Management Sub-Layer Subcommittee (HMS)
focus: Protocol suites for management systems involving hybrid fiber/coax networks
chair : Hung Nguyen (AOL Time Warner)

Interface Practices and In-Home Cabling Subcommittee (IPS)
focus: Standards for the cables, connectors, and housings used in broadband
           telecommunications distribution plants

chair: Brian James (B&W Engineering)

SCTE Standards Staff
SCTE Headquarters
140 Philips Road, Exton, PA 19341-1318

Stephen P. Oksala, vice president, standards
610-524-1725, ext. 204; soksala@scte.org

Ted Woo, Ph.D., P.E., director of standards
610-524-1725, ext. 228; twoo@scte.org

Robin Fenton, standards administrator
610-542-1725, ext. 244; rfenton@scte.org

Robin Burckhardt, administrative assistant
610-524-1725, ext. 211; rburckhardt@scte.org

For general information and assistance: