I have served on the board of directors of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) for the past 3 years and was recently re-elected to serve another term. This month, the MEF celebrates its ten-year anniversary. I wanted to share some background with you on the MEF, what the organization has accomplished over the last ten years, and discuss its importance in the growth of our recently-launched Metro Ethernet services.
The Metro Ethernet Forum was formed to promote the standardization and adoption of Carrier Ethernet (also known as Metro Ethernet). At the time that the MEF was formed, Carrier Ethernet was a new technology. Through its efforts, a robust set of standards has been developed to facilitate consistent implementation of Carrier Ethernet around the world. Perhaps more importantly, the MEF also developed a certification program so that equipment and service providers could demonstrate that they are conforming to the MEF specifications — giving buyers the certainty that the products that they buy will work with other vendors' (MEF standards-based) products. This type of interoperability is important in multi-vendor environments. The MEF has approved more than 30 specifications so far.
There are nearly 200 MEF member companies — service providers, equipment manufacturers, test labs, training providers and providers of Carrier Ethernet exchange services. Pretty much anyone with a stake in ensuring that Carrier Ethernet continues to develop as a cost effective, efficient global standard can join MEF and help steer its evolution.
Comcast joined the MEF in 2008. As we set our eyes on serving 20-500 employee businesses, we identified Metro Ethernet as a critical technology for these types of organizations. Comcast, and myself in particular, are big believers in standards. Having watched the industry wrestle with the effects of inconsistent standards and proprietary approaches, we knew we wanted to be as standardized as possible. Metro Ethernet certification helps drive down costs for customers and everyone in the ecosystem. It creates competition on the basis of quality, cost and scalability rather than by having a customer trapped in a proprietary architecture.
The growth of MEF certifications and member companies continues to be tremendous. It mirrors the growth of Metro Ethernet itself. There's also a lot more diversity now — in member companies and in terms of international representation. The future of the MEF is definitely global, so we need to continue to strive for a global standard to drive maximum economies of scale in manufacturing, service interconnection and network management tools. Metro Ethernet is off and running and we need to get everyone aligned behind a single, increasingly standardized execution.
There are a lot of future evolutions to further improve bandwidth liquidity, diversify service delivery options, customize Metro Ethernet for the cloud and other applications, and in general ensure that Metro Ethernet is positioned to fully displace the TDM infrastructure of the past.
The MEF has a lot to do, but it has made a great deal of progress over the past ten years. I want to congratulate the MEF on a successful ten years, and we're looking forward to the next ten — any many more — as well!