America's role changes. DSL speeds would be much lower and tens of millions of current DSL customers wouldn't be served without the extraordinary work of Tom Starr and dozens more on "The DSL Committee." We'd have far more problems with interference if the T1E1.4 committee hadn't developed a set of rules 20 years ago. Tens of millions of homes that today get 3-6 megabits would probably have been capped at 1.5 megabits if they didn't create competition for the first ADSL modem. Literally hundreds of problems were prevented or resolved by the work they've done.
America is no longer the center of the telecom world, so perhaps it was inevitable that the American standards committee would fade away.
Work continues in the Broadband Forum and of course the ITU. That means little will really change. Starr himself is President of the Broadband Forum and chair of an ITU study group. A few dozen engineers are the core of all three groups, many of whom have worked together for two decades.
A shoutout to long time members Massimo Sorbara, Frank Van der Putten, Charles Cook, Kevin Foster, Les Brown, Les Humphrey, Greg Sherrill, Arlynn Wilson, Vladimir Oksman, Richard Goodson, Ed Eckert, Ken Kerpez, Miguel Peters, and John Cioffi. Most of these guys - they are all guys - remain active, especially in the VDSL standard. (Anyone left out, please let me know for the next issue.)
Below, Tom's note, a picture of Tom and Massimo, and a picture of the Amati team that won the DSL Olympics 20 years ago. Above, Tom's SF novel, Virtual Vengeance, which is available from Amazon for less than $12.
Today, ATIS officially sunset the ATIS COAST-NAI committee after 30 years of service to the industry. Of course, the DSL standards work continues in the ITU-T and Broadband Forum.
After thirty years of driving innovation and interoperability in the DSL industry, the ATIS COAST-NAI standards committee was shut down in December, 2014. The committee’s name changed over the years from T1D1.3 to T1E1.4 and then COAST-NAI, with Larry Smith, Tom Starr, and Massimo Sorbara serving as its chairmen. It is best known for developing DSL standards ranging from ISDN, HDSL, ADSL, VDSL, and spectrum management for telephone cables, but its scope also included analog phone lines, T1-carrier, and DDS with a total of more than fifty technical standards and reports. To better address the global nature of the telecommunications industry, the standards work has transitioned to the Broadband Forum and ITU-T. DSL’s success in providing broadband access to more customers worldwide than any other wireline technology is largely due to the innovative and comprehensive technical specifications produced by the committee which provided vendors and service providers with the confidence to implement DSL technology. The world’s foremost DSL experts gathered at COAST-NAI in a collaborative environment where the best ideas from all members were refined and incorporated into the widely adopted standards. COAST-NAI was one of the best known and most productive committees in ATIS.
It has been an honor to serve as COAST-NAI Chair for most of the 30 years.