Standards-related Associations and Institutes


American National Standards Institute

Established in 1918, ANSI oversees the creation, acceptance, publication, and use of standards for a wide range of industries, as phrased on its website: “from acoustical devices to construction equipment, from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution, and many more.” As of 2014, ANSI’s membership included 647 companies, and 338 organizations (trade associations, professional societies, standards committees, consumer and labour groups), 57 government agencies, 26 educational and institutional organizations, and 38 international organizations. ANSI has accredited 235 standards-writing organizations and it has approved 11,197 standards. ANSI also participates in 574 International Standards Organization (ISO) technical advisory groups.

In 2013, ANSI had expenses of US$36.5 million, over half of which went for publications and accreditation services. Altogether, US$29.7 million of ANSI’s expenses went for standards programs and US$6.8 million was spent on membership, administration, and management functions. ANSI is the official US representative to the ISO and via the US National Committee, to the IEC.


ASTM International

American Society for Testing and Materials

ASTM has both individual and organizational memberships, with total membership exceeding 30,000 individuals from 150 countries. The ASTM dates back to 1898, when it was founded as the American Society of the International Association for Testing Materials. Its first standard was “Structural Steel for Bridges,” and other early standards addressed problems in the railroad and construction industries. The ASTM currently has more than 140 standards-writing committees, and more than 12,000 published standards. More than 6,500 of these have been adopted as the basis of national standards or used as reference documents in countries outside the US. The ASTM has completed hundreds of standards on materials used in making cable or on procedures for testing cables and cable materials.



China Communications Standards Association

The CCSA was established in 2002 when eight precursor standards bodies were restructured into one unified nationwide organization. In 2013, the CCSA had 369 members – mainly corporate bodies -- including manufacturers, R&D institutes, operators, universities, and other societies. The CCSA works on standards in all areas of ICT – information and communications technology. China’s telecom operators are installing mobile and fixed broadband networks, including 4G and FTTx systems, at a rapid rate. The operators also are upgrading their backbones with the latest technologies, such as Tbps-rate transmission systems. As a result a major thrust of the CCSA’s recent work is developing standards for new-generation transmission and access systems. In 2013, the CCSA completed 34 standards and 23 technical report/research projects. The CCSA also reviewed 209 national and industry standards in 2013. The CCSA works with the ITU on communication standards.



European Committee for Standardization

CEN is a Europe-wide standards organization. It accepts, certifies, and publishes standards and reference documents. CEN publications are known as Technical Specifications, Technical Reports, Guides, and Workshop Agreements. These four different types of publications have different methods of development, approval, and implementation. CEN’s 33 members are the national standards organizations of the 28 EU member countries, plus Iceland, FYR Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. It is organized with 450 Technical Bodies and Workshops, which are further segmented into 1,650 working groups and subcommittees. CENELEC is a companion organization with the same objective as CEN but focused on electrical and electronics technologies.

CEN and CENELEC have their own websites, plus there is third website for both ( that explains the 2010 creation of a joint CEN-plus-CENELEC management centre in Brussels. The centre has 80 full-time employees. CEN and CENELEC both support international standards by working with the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).



European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization

CENELEC is recognized by the European Commission as the sanctioned standards organization for electronics, including the following sectors: electric vehicles, smart grids, smart metering, household appliances, information and communication technologies (ICTs), electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), electrical engineering, fibre optic communications, fuel cells, medical equipment, railways, and solar (photovoltaic) electricity systems.

CENELEC has 33 members, which are the national electrotechnical standards organizations of 33 European countries. CENELEC also has 13 affiliate members, which are from countries in E. Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa. 33 countries are members, with another 14 countries as affiliates.

CENELEC has 300 technical bodies working on standards in all areas of electrical and electronics. It has 6,519 active standards, and it published 509 new standards or amendments to existing standards in 2014. CENELEC is one of three European standards organizations that are recognized by the European Commission as European standards: CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI


CSA Group

formerly Canadian Standards Association

The CSA was established in 1919 as the Canadian Engineering Standards Association (CESA), with an initial focus on developing standards for railway equipment and safety. The organization’s first published standard in 1920 was on steel railway bridges. By 1950, the group had broadened its mission to cover a wide range of electrical equipment and was renamed as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). In the 1970s, the CSA began work on quality-management standards that became the basis of the international ISO 9000 standards. Since 2000, the CSA has expanded its testing and certification programs with six labs Europe, three in Asia, and several others in planning stages.

Currently, the CSA Group has 1,600 employees in 14 countries, and 7,800 members (individuals) that work on standards and technical committees. The Group has developed more than 3,000 codes and standards in many areas, including automotive, construction, consumer products, energy, industrial materials, and wire and cables.



European Telecommunication Standards Institute

ETSI drafts standards for a wide range of telecom and information technologies, including fibre and cable, and DSL systems for copper pairs. Some of the standards are used globally, and ETSI has 800 member organizations from 64 countries. ETSI says “we are officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization.” The telecom cable standards are organized under the “Networks” cluster, one of ten clusters including wireless, security, interoperability, and others. An example of a recent standard under this cluster was version 3.1 of DOCSIS, the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, which defines cable-modem technology so that CATV operators can offer broadband Internet over their coax or fibre-plus-coax networks.



Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

The IEEE dates back to a precursor organization founded in 1884 as the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. In 1963, this organization merged with the Institute of Radio Engineers, which also dates back more than 100 years – to 1912. The IEEE currently is the world’s largest professional organization, with around 430,000 members (individuals) in 160 countries. With this size, the IEEE is organized into 39 societies and special interest groups, plus many national and local chapters. The IEEE has hundreds of technical councils, standards committees, and other working groups. The IEEE publishes more than 130 journals, proceedings, and magazines, and it has 1,300 active standards and projects under development.

None of the IEEE’s 39 societies are focused specifically on cable, but there are several societies devoted to systems and applications using cable, including societies for communications, control systems, dielectrics and electrical insulation, intelligent transportation, photonics, power electronics, and vehicular technologies. IEEE standards activities affecting the cable industry include a wide array of power and energy standards, the widely used IEEE 802 Ethernet standards, and standards covering many detailed design and installation practices, such as pulling lubricants, shielding, wrapping cable in aerial installations, cable raceways, etc. A search of the IEEE standards database with the keyword “cable” brings up references to 294 standards.



International Electrotechnical Commission

The IEC was established in 1906, but it has several precursor organizations – including national congresses – that predate it by several years. Since then, the IEC has become the predominant international standards organization that is responsible for standardizing product specifications and test methods in the areas of electrical and electronic technologies. The IEC is one of three global organizations with a major role in international standards, along with the ISO and the ITU. The IEC has 28 main committees, and four shared committees – shared with the ISO or ITU. The main committee structure oversees 174 Technical Committees (TCs) and subcommittees, 506 working groups, and more than 14,000 experts. Several TCs address cable and cable-related products, including TC 11 Overhead Lines, TC 20 Electric Cables, SC 23A Cable Management Systems, TC 46 Cables, Wires, Waveguides, RF Connectors, and RF accessories, SC46A Coaxial Cables, SC46C Wires and Symmetric Cables, TC 86 Fibre Optics, SC 86A Fibres and Cables, TA 5 Cable Networks for TV Signals, and many others. The IEC’s members are the standards bodies from different countries. It has 60 full members and 23 associate members.



International Organization for Standardization

Formed in 1946 with delegates from 25 countries, the ISO currently has 164 members. Its members are the standards bodies from 164 countries. It is the world’s broadest and most influential standards organization. The ISO works with the IEC and ITU, as well as with the World Trade Organization and United Nations agencies. The ISO also works about 650 other international, national, and technical standards organizations. The ISO has 138 full-time staff members. Its headquarters is in Geneva. Each of the 163 member countries contributes a fee toward the ISO’s operational cost based on its GDP and trade statistics. Other costs associated with developing standards – travel, time, etc. – are contributed by each national standard organization or organization participating in standards development work.

The standards work is governed by Technical Committees, which oversee 3.483 technical bodies working on standards in different industries and technologies. In 2013, the ISO completed 1,103 new standards, representing 59,000 pages. As of 2013, the ISO had 19,977 active standards in force. Of these, 17% were in electronics, IT, and telecommunications, 11% were in transportation, 23% in materials, 27% in engineering technologies, and the rest in food, agriculture, health, environment, construction, and others. The ISO has published standards with the specifications of cable in specific industries, but the development of standards for cable materials and testing is done by the IEC, the ISO’s partner handling electrotechincal standards.



International Telecommunications Union

The ITU is a United Nations agency. The ITU’s mission is to coordinate international communications and promote the development of information and communication technologies throughout the world. Key elements of this mission include allocation of global RF spectrum, managing satellite orbits, and developing technical standards for telecom hardware and systems.

The ITU has 193 member countries plus 700 corporate and academic members. The standards work is run by a sector known as “ITU-T,” which has a series of numbered Study Groups looking at different types of products and systems. Study Group 15 (SG 15) is responsible for network technologies, including transport (long-distance or backbone), access (local loop), and inside-the-home. Within SG 15, there are many working groups covering fibre and cable standards. These recommendations are published and available from the ITU with a numbering scheme as follows: ITU-T, such as ITU-T G.652. Some recommendations have amendments or additional sets of specifications, noted with more digits in the numbering scheme. The ITU has more than 4,000 active standards or “recommendations” in force.



Telecommunications Industry Association

The TIA was formed in 1988 by the merger of two other groups both of which were parts of larger groups that dated back to the 1920s, the United States Independent Telephone Association and the Information and Telecommunications Technologies Group of the EIA (Electronic Industries Association.) Both precursor groups represented companies that supply equipment and network materials to the network operators. The TIA has five missions:1) government affairs; 2) technology and standards; 3) market intelligence, including the annual report; 4) business development and events, including conferences, webinars, and courses; 5) marketing assistance. The TIA is based in Washington, DC, general members must be US companies, and the policy and marketing initiatives are to promote the interests of US companies. The standards that address cable or equipment performance, testing, and compatibility, however, are used in many countries.

The TIA has about 350 members, including 15 that make cable and another group of about 15 that make materials or test instruments used when making or installing cable. The committee known as TR-42 is responsible for work on cable standards, and it has several sub-committees. The main cable related standards are TIA-942 (infrastructure for data centres), TIA-568 (building cabling), TIA-569 (building pathways and spaces), and TIA-455 (fibre optic test procedures).



Russian Cable Scientific Research and Development Institute

VNIIKP was founded in 1947 to provide centralized R&D and testing services for Russia’s cable industry. Through the 1950s and 1960s, the institute expanded its mission to research all kinds of wire and cable, plus it developed post-graduate programs to provide research and technical training for the cable industry. The institute works with officials from about 50 cable manufacturing sites in Russia, representing the country’s full range of wire and cable products.

In 1993, the institute became an open joint stock company, registered with the Moscow Chamber of Registration. VNIIKP has 240 employees directly involved in R&D, including 29 PhDs.

It also contributes to international research projects and industry programs, and furnishes information to its members on technical and product developments. In addition to its research, information, and testing services, VNIIKP also organizes exhibitions at international events plus an annual conference for officials from Russia’s cable manufacturers and users.