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I know CCITT is now ITU, but shouldn't and article or at least a redirect be availably? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

You mean a redirect such as this one, which has existed as a redirect since June 9, 2003? Guy Harris 00:24, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Splitting off the list of recommendations?[edit]

The Category:ITU-T recommendations is practically unreadable because you can't get the ITU-T recommendation number (which is the moniker people remember) into the list. The list of recommendations now fills half the ITU-T page, and it's still only a sampler. Should it be split off? --Alvestrand 05:40, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

That might not be a bad idea. People interested in ITU-T in general can read this page; people looking for a list of recommendations could go to a "List of ITU-T recommendations" page.
A task up for grabs! Right now I think some ITU sections grows more than others, but as mentioned, the ITU-T alone will be long. An alternative is to link to where there is a list updated regurlaly. There are a lot of recommendations on the way... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tobias Ahl (talkcontribs) 02:21, 13 April 2007 (UTC).
What do you mean by "you can't get the ITU-T recommendation number ... into the list"? At least some of the items on that page do have recommendation numbers in them. Guy Harris 07:39, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
For instance the Common management interface protocol is also known as X.700 - the article is fairly well-linked, and better known as CMIP than as X.700, so I think it's not reasonable to move it to "X.700 CMIP" - I can get it alphabetized under X if I want to, but it won't appear as "X.700" in the Category page. --Alvestrand 08:12, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Alvestrand - surely most ITU-T Recommendations are "significant" to the relevant community and hence this list will keep growing. Anyone wanting to know what the ITU-T is doesn't need the list. Behind The Wall Of Sleep 09:30, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

The use of lowercase "recommendations" as opposed to ITU convention "Recommendations" in the category name and in the discussion above is rather jarring. See the ITU-T web site for proper (capitalized) use of the term. —SudoMonas 17:08, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Multimedia compression box[edit]

Yes, media compression is a prominent subject, but to a reader new to ITU-T doesn't this large box give the impression that it's what ITU is all about? Behind The Wall Of Sleep 09:30, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Naming trivia[edit]

What does the -T in ITU-T stand for? Is this Telecommunications (i.e. their scope, even if tautological) or is it some translation of Standardization (i.e. their function) that I can't spot? Andy Dingley 15:39, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

It's short for Telecommunication Standardization Sector. ITU is divided into three sectors: ITU-T, ITU-R (Radiocommunication Sector) and ITU-D (Telecommunication Development Sector). BertK 08:03, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

User BertK missed the point in Dingley's question/observation. What does the initialism ITU-T stand for? In most places, the letters correspond to some portion the underlying name (see CCITT in the articles' second paragraph). ITU-T apparently is a redundant initialism....International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunications.....?

Concurent to the original observation, the article starts with "Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T)", which is some manner implies ITU-T stands for Telecommunication Standardization Sector....which in English would be something like TSS, not ITU-T. Bcwilmot (talk) 05:36, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Inclusion of full lists of recommendations into article[edit]

I have reverted two edits that dump a whole block of recommendation titles, with no Wikipedia linking, into the article.

I don't think this improves the article (the recommendation list is already disproportionately long), or its usefulness. The recommendations listed are almost all about stuff that Wikipedia already has articles about (or components, such as the various X.500 pieces).

If lists of all ITU-T recommendation titles are desirable, I think they should be separate from the main article. --Alvestrand 18:14, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

If lists of all ITU-T recommendation titles are desirable, one of them can be found at Guy Harris 18:56, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I think that the article is poor at the moment because of all these lists. IMHO it's not the best way to present the subject in an encyclopaedic way. I'd suggest perhaps maintaining only a list of Recommendation categories (although perhaps even that could go!) and simply add the link to the Recs. By way of example, the corresponding article on ITU-R does not include a list of ITU-R Recs. MarkPos 19:43, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I think having a path of only a few steps from the Wikipedia article on the ITU-T to the Wikipedia articles on the technologies it standardizes is a Good Thing, and the ITU official lists don't link to Wikipedia. But I wouldn't worry much if there was one more link to traverse. --Alvestrand 20:12, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Good point. In this case I agree with your original suggestion to put the lists of Recs in a separate page, linked off of the main ITU-T article, so that it makes the base article much more accessible and readable. MarkPos 20:21, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Proposal for a new article[edit]

Please find below a proposal for a new article on ITU-T. The new article takes into account comments in the discussion on level of detail. It is also designed to take more account of the needs of the casual visitor rather than someone familiar with the standards world and ITU-T in particular. Details can still be sourced via other links.

Feel free to contact us regarding any of the changes made. If there are no comments within the next 24h we will publish the article. ITU-T 14:14, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

As it is, it is unsuitable for a Wikipedia article, because it does not cite its sources. If it is supported with reliable sources so that the information is verifiable, I think it would look good, if checked against the Manual of Style - for instance, using "ref" tags instead of the in-article links. (The current article is equally bad when it comes to citing sources, so the proposal is not worse....). But - given your username - check the Wikipedia guidelines on Conflict of Interest. --Alvestrand 17:08, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. Clearly we want to make sure that our edit is inline with Wikipedia practice so your advice is very welcome. We have redrafted and posted citing sources etc. It has to be noted that the original entry contained few citations and or sources. We would also rather be transparent about where the edit is coming from. The point of the exercise is to address some of the issues raised in the discussion as well as to make the entry more user friendly and up to date. As a non-profit making organization we don't have any commercial interest in editing this entry and do not believe - having carefully read the link that you kindly provided - that there is a conflict of interest. Rather we believe that the edit proposed is a substantial improvement over the original. We are happy to discuss further. ITU-T 16:25, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Broadly speaking I think that this new text is a significant improvement on the existing version and I support it. However, in spite of the comments made by ITU-T regarding the lack of any commercial interest in editing this article, I do think that we should be careful about transparency here. I am assuming that ITU-T is an account held by a staff member or members of TSB and that the revised text proposed here can be regarded as an "official" view on how ITU-T should be presented. My understanding (as a relatively new Wikipedia editor) is that WP:COI and WP:POV in principle mean that one should not make significant contributions to articles where one is directly involved with the subject matter, irrespective of whether or not there is a commercial interest or not. However, in this case, I would suggest that the proposed text is of sufficient quality, and lacking in any controversy, that the COI and POV considerations could perhaps be disregarded. That said, for purposes of transparency, I would recommend:
1) that ITU-T should make it clear via your User Page that the account is owned by ITU-T itself and that the account was established to clarify and improve the ITU-T article;
2) that once the revised article is posted, as is done in other similar situations, the top of this talk page be tagged with the {{Notable Wikipedian}} tag as follows:
to indicate clearly that ITU-T has contributed to the article about itself; and,
3) that once the new article is posted, ITU-T allows other Wikipedia editors to work on and improve the article and refrains from taking an active role in maintaining the article, instead using this talk page to raise comments and suggestions.
I hope these thoughts are helpful. MarkPos 08:30, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for your thoughts. We really appreciate your advice which we will take into account. ITU-T 17:06, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

who's key achievements?[edit]

I was wondering if anyone could clarify what the ITU's (or ITU-T's) role in the major achievements is, or why those things are considered the ITU's achievements-- (talk) 00:12, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Good point. The paragraph “Key achievements of ITU” has been changed to “Key standards published by ITU” in purpose to clarify that items in the list are standards published by ITU. The development of these have in a some cases been done in collaboration with other standard bodies, i.e. ISO and IEC. Existing articles (hyperlinks from the list) give in general information on this. ITU-T 11:26, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

List of Recommendations not up-to-date[edit]

Wikipedia (as well as most other websites in the internet) lists 26 classes of Recommendations but the official website has only 23 (B, C, W seem to dropped). I don't know what happended to them... (talk) 15:18, 4 February 2010 (UTC)


The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) coordinates standards for telecommunications on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The standardization work of ITU dates back to 1865, with the birth of the International Telegraph Union. It became a United Nations specialized agency in 1947, and the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT), (from the French name "Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique") was created in 1956. It was renamed ITU-T in 1993.[1]

ITU has been an intergovernmental public-private partnership organization since its inception and now has a membership of 191 countries (Member States) and over 700 public and private sector companies as well as international and regional telecommunication entities, known as Sector Members and Associates, which undertake most of the work of the Sector.[2]

Primary function[edit]

The ITU-T mission is to ensure the efficient and timely production of standards covering all fields of telecommunications on a worldwide basis, as well as defining tariff and accounting principles for international telecommunication services.[3]

The international standards that are produced by the ITU-T are referred to as "Recommendations" (with the word ordinarily capitalized to distinguish its meaning from the ordinary sense of the word "recommendation"), as they only become mandatory when adopted as part of a national law.

Since the ITU-T is part of the ITU, which is a United Nations specialized agency, its standards carry more formal international weight than those of most other standards development organizations that publish technical specifications of a similar form.[4]


Although the ITU itself dates back to 1865[5], the formal standardization processes are more recent.

Two consultative committees were created by the ITU’s 1925 Paris conference to deal with the complexities of the international telephone services (known as CCIF, as the French acronym) and long-distance telegraphy (CCIT).[6]

In view of the basic similarity of many of the technical problems faced by the CCIF and CCIT, a decision was taken in 1956 to merge them to become the single International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT, in the French acronym).[7]

In 1992, the Plenipotentiary Conference (the top policy-making conference of ITU) saw a reform of ITU, giving the Union greater flexibility to adapt to an increasingly complex, interactive and competitive environment. It was at this time that CCITT was renamed the Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), as one of three Sectors of the Union alongside the Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) and the Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D).[8]

Historically, the Recommendations of the CCITT were presented to four-yearly plenary assemblies for endorsement, and the full set of Recommendations were published after each plenary assembly. However, the delays in producing texts, and translating them into other working languages, did not suit the fast pace of change in the telecommunications industry.[9]

"Real time" standardization[edit]

The rise of the personal computer industry in the early 1980s created a new common practice among both consumers and businesses of adopting "bleeding edge" communications technology even if it was not yet standardized. Thus, standards organizations had to put forth standards much faster, or find themselves ratifying de facto standards after the fact.

The ITU-T now operates under much more streamlined processes. The time between an initial proposal of a draft document by a member company and the final approval of a full-status ITU-T Recommendation can now be as short as a few months (or less in some cases). This makes the standardization approval process in the ITU-T much more responsive to the needs of rapid technology development than in the ITU's historical past.[10] New and updated Recommendations are published on an almost daily basis, and the entire library of over 3’270 Recommendations is now free of charge online.

ITU-T has moreover tried to facilitate cooperation between the various forums and standard-developing organizations (SDOs). This collaboration is necessary to avoid duplication of work and the consequent risk of conflicting standards in the market place.[11]

In the work of standardization ITU-T cooperates with other SDOs, i.e. the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)[12]

Development of Recommendations[edit]

Most of the work of ITU-T is carried out by its Sector Members and Associates, while the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) is the executive arm of ITU-T and coordinator for a number of workshops and seminars to progress existing work areas and explore new ones. The events cover a wide array of topics in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and attract high-ranking experts as speakers, and attendees from engineers to high-level management from all industry sectors.[13]

The technical work, the development of Recommendations, of ITU-T is managed by Study Groups (SGs). The people involved in these SGs are experts in telecommunications from all over the world. There are currently 13 SGs. Study groups meet face to face according to a calendar issued by the TSB.[14] SGs are augmented by Focus Groups (FGs), an instrument created by ITU-T, providing a way to quickly react to ICT standardization needs and allowing great flexibility in terms of participation and working methods. The key difference between SGs and FGs is that the latter have greater freedom to organize and finance themselves, and to involve non-members in their work. Focus Groups can be created very quickly, are usually short-lived and can choose their own working methods, leadership, financing, and types of deliverables.[15] Recent examples include work on Next Generation Networking, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and digital identity management.[16]

Approval of Recommendations[edit]

The “Alternative Approval Process” (AAP) is a fast-track approval procedure that was developed to allow standards to be brought to market in the timeframe that industry now demands.

This dramatic overhaul of standards-making by streamlining approval procedures was implemented in 2001 and is estimated to have cut the time involved in this critical aspect of the standardization process by 80 to 90 per cent. This means that an average standard which took around four years to approve and publish until the mid nineties, and two years until 1997, can now be approved in an average of two months, or as little as five weeks.

Besides streamlining the underlying procedures involved in the approval process, an important contributory factor to the use of AAP is electronic document handling. Once the approval process has begun the rest of the process can be completed electronically, in the vast majority of cases, with no further physical meetings.

The introduction of AAP also formalizes public/private partnership in the approval process by providing equal opportunities for both Sector Members and Member States in the approval of technical standards.

Once the text of a draft Recommendation prepared by SG experts is considered mature, it is submitted for review to an SG meeting. If agreed by the meeting it is given Consent. This means that the SG has given its consent that the text is sufficiently mature to initiate a final review process leading to approval of the draft Recommendation.

After this Consent has been achieved, TSB announces the start of the AAP procedure by posting the draft text to the ITU-T web site and calling for comments. This gives the opportunity for all members to review the text. This phase, called Last Call, is a four-week period in which comments can be submitted by Member States and Sector Members.

If no comments other than editorial corrections are received, the Recommendation is considered approved since no issues were identified that might need any further work. However, if there are any comments, the SG chairman, in consultation with TSB, sets up a comment resolution process by the concerned experts. The revised text is then posted on the web for an Additional Review period of three weeks.

Similar to the Last Call phase, in Additional Review the Recommendation is considered as approved if no comments are received. If comments are received, it is apparent that there are some issues that still need more work, and the draft text and all comments are sent to the next Study Group meeting for further discussion and possible approval.[17]

Those Recommendations considered as having policy or regulatory implications are approved through what is known as the “Traditional Approval Process” (TAP), which allows a longer period for reflection and commenting by Member States. TAP Recommendations are also translated into the six working languages of ITU (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).[18]

Series and Recommendations[edit]

ITU-T issues Recommendations that have names like X.500, where X is the series and 500 is an identifying number. When a Recommendation is updated, it will (mostly) keep the same number, so the year of issue may be necessary to identify a specific version of a Recommendation. The term "X.500" is used both to refer to the specific X.500 Recommendation, and to the entire family of Recommendations named X.5xx, where the specific X.500 Recommendation forms the introduction and overview to the set.

International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs)[edit]

In addition to the ITU-T Recommendations, which have non-mandatory status until they are adopted in national laws, ITU-T is also the custodian of a binding international treaty, the International Telecommunication Regulations. The ITRs go back to the earliest days of the ITU when there were two separate treaties, dealing with telegraph and telephone. The ITRs were adopted, as a single treaty, at the World Administrative Telegraphy and Telephone Conference held in Melbourne, 1988 (WATTC-88).[19]

In line with the current Constitution and Convention of ITU, the ITRs can be amended through a World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), and the next is scheduled for 2012. Before then a process of review of the ITRs, which began in 1998, will continue.[20]

The ITRs comprise ten articles which deal, inter alia, with the definition of international telecommunication services, cooperation between countries and national administrations, safety of life and priority of telecommunications and charging and accounting principles. The adoption of the ITRs in 1988 is often taken as the start of the wider liberalization process in international telecommunications, though a few countries, including United States and United Kingdom, had made steps to liberalize their markets before 1988.[21]

Key Achievements of ITU[edit]

Hot topics[edit]

  • ITU-T is committed to “bridging the standardization gap” – disparities in the ability of developing countries, relative to developed ones, to access, implement, contribute to and influence international ICT standards. Find out more about the work here.
  • The ICT Security Standards Roadmap has been developed to assist in the development of security standards by bringing together information about existing standards and current standards work in key standards development organizations.
  • The Next Generation Networks (NGN) concept takes into consideration new realities in the telecommunication industry characterized by factors such as; the need to converge and optimize the operating networks and the extraordinary expansion of digital traffic (i.e., increasing demand for new multimedia services, mobility, etc.).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Lists of recommendations[edit]

There was discussion above of removing these, with a consensus I think that it be done, but it never was. I have removed these (I agree BTW they add nothing to the article, and can be discovered at ITU's sites). Alexbrn (talk) 13:45, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Yellow Book, Red Book, Blue Book, etc.[edit]

It would be useful with a listing and timeline of editions of the CCITT and ITU-T recommendations. I remember that the Yellow Book was the current one in the early 80's, and I think the Red Book was published in 1984. The article on X.400 mentions the Red Book without mentioning CCITT or ITU-T. I'm not sure if the cover color is used as the publication nickname any longer, but it certainly is for some editions. --HelgeStenstrom (talk) 09:17, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Capitalisation of recommendations[edit]

Why does recommendations need to be capitalised? Wouldn't the context it is in be enough? Why does this article need to read as legalese? --Mortense (talk) 18:59, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Meta: Why is section "ITU-T" here?[edit]

Why is subsection "ITU-T" here at all? It looks like someone has used this talk page as a sandbox. --Mortense (talk) 19:07, 11 August 2015 (UTC)