Glossary and acronyms

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Advisory Committee on Advance Television Service


African, Caribbean and Pacific countries


Association of European Private Cable Operators


Advanced Communications Technologies and Service


It is the PC translator that converts information to tidy packages that neatly 
flow down networks wires. Every PC on a corporate network has one of these 
adapters, which comes in the form of circuit boards.


African Development Bank


The facility by which the subscriber's home equipment may be controlled 
remotely by a cable operator, in order to allow the provision of pay-per-view programmes, changes in the level of the service, or disconnection.


Asymmetric digital subscriber line


Advanced Digital Television Technologies


Asociacion Hispanoamericana de Centros de Investigacion y empresas de Telecomunicaciones


Advanced Informatics in Medicine


Investment Program for Latin America


Association of Management Training Institutions of Eastern and Southern Africa


Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation


Telematic services available in the professional and private spheres such as 
telework, telemedicine, tele-education and teletraining or telemanagement 
of traffic.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

It is the standard code system used on PCs. This is the de facto world-wide 
standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper 
and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard 
ASCII codes each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 
0000000 through 1111111. 


Association of South-East Asian Nations. The Association of Southeast 
Asian Nations or ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok 
by the five original Member Countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, 
Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 
8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23
July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999. 


Asian-European Meeting


Investment Program for Asia

ASYMMETRICAL Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)

Existing telephone networks upgraded to allow VCR-quality video 
images (but not live or high-definition signals) to be transmitted.

ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode)

It is an international packet switching standard established by the CCITT. 
It is a system for organising a digital signal in such a way as to allow very 
high speed transmission of the signal while making optimum use of the network's transmission capacity. A standard agreed for B-ISDN networks.


American Television Alliance


Association des Universités Partiellement ou Entièrement de Langue Française - Université des Réseaux d’Expression Française (association of partly or fully French-speaking universities - university of French-speaking networks) 


European Investment Bank





Definition of the transmission capacity of a cable. Highest for fibre optic, lowest for copper telephone wire.


Numerical data transmission speed unit. 1 baud correspond to 1 bit/second. The minimum speed of a modem is 9,600 bauds nowadays.


Banco Interamericano de Desarollo

B-ISDN (Broadband ISDN)

A single network capable of carrying several different types of service, 
based on voice, data, still or moving image - by means of digital transmission techniques. The ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) currently 
being deployed in Europe carries a communication of up to 2 Megabits/second (Narrowband ISDN). Future networks will carry higher speed communications (Broadband ISDN).


The smallest discrete elements in a binary system: eight bits comprise one byte.


A popular way to move large amounts of voice, data and video. 
Broadband technology lets different networks coexist on a single 
piece of heavy-duty wiring. It isolates signal as a radio does; each one 
vibrates at a different frequency as it moves down the line. Its opposite 
is baseband, which separates signals by sending them at timed intervals.


Hardware and software used in the framework of an office (e.g. word processing).





A reception system available in areas that are cabled. Opposite to the satellite, the reception of a cable broadcast does not need an aerial on the roof or balcony.


Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistic Support

Carte à puce (Smart Card)

It is a card that is able to store digital information. It was created in 1974 
and used for many purposes since (e.g. credit cards, telephone cards).


Comité Consultatif International Télégraphique et Téléphonique, International Telegraphy and Telephony Consultative Committee 
(The previous name for the ITU-T)


Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs and the Information Society)


Comité Européen de Normalisation; European Committee for Standardization
CEN's mission is to promote voluntary technical harmonization in Europe
in conjunction with worldwide bodies and its partners in Europe.


European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, Comité 
Européen de Normalisation Electrotechnique. Together with its members, 
affiliates and co-operating partners is developing and achieving a coherent 
set of voluntary electrotechnical standards as a basis to a Single 
European Market / European Economic Area without internal frontiers 
for goods and services inside Europe.


Information Society Standardization System. The mission of CEN/ISSS 
is to provide market players with a comprehensive and integrated range of standardization-oriented services and products, in order to contribute to 
the success of the Information Society in Europe.


Conference Européenne des Postes et des Télécommunications; 
European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations


Conféderation Europénne des Relations Publiques, 
Confederation of European Public Relations Professionals

The main objective is to represent the European PR profession 
and to establish contacts, exchanges, and co-operative links 
between the PR associations and their members worldwide. 


Computer Integrated Manufacturing

CIRCOM Regional

Association of regional television channels in Europe. CIRCOM Regional 
is a European television organisation formed in 1983 to provide a 
network for the major decision-makers in Europe's regional television. 
It yearly honours the best European regional productions with the 
prestigious Prix Circom.


A client is usually a PC that communicates over a network both with its 
peers, other clients, and with a large computer, called a server, which 
typically stores data that many workers need to use. The client has just 
one user, the server many.

Coaxial Cable

Better known as coax, this is the old fat wire used by cable TV companies 
and some data networks. It has more capacity than standard copper 
phone wire, but quite a bit less than fiber-optic lines. 


European Commission; Commission document: COM-documents are 
issued by the Secretariat-General of the Commission and contain proposals 
or other communications from the Commission to the Council and/or 
other institutions. (European Commission on the Interinstitutional 
Webserver EUROPA)

Community Antenna Television, Cable Television (CATV)

A public network for the delivery of television programmes to the home by cable. Existing systems use coaxial cable and are limited in Europe to approximately 30 channels of television. Future Broadband systems will carry up to 500 channels. 


The technique of reducing the amount of data in a signal in order to reduce 
the amount of required transmission capacity, the signal being reconstructed in its original form at the receiving end. A device to do this is a "codec" (coder-decoder).

Compact Disc Interactive (CD-I)

The interactive multimedia platform developed by Philips, based on a 
Motorola 68000 processor and compact disc drive, with universal technical 
specifications. CD-I supports three levels of audio in stereo and mono,
 four graphics formats at various levels, four images planes, in/out devices 
including a remote control unit and keyboard, and output to ordinary 
TV sets, under its own dedicated operating system (CD-RTOS).

Compact Disc Read Only Memory (CD-ROM)

The CD format principally devoted to text and data (and occasionally, audio and graphics).


Technical Commission on Telecommunications for Central America


Community R&D Information Service


Committee on Scientific and Technological Information (US)


European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research
Founded in 1971 COST, is an intergovernmental framework for 
European Co-operation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, 
allowing the co-ordination of nationally funded research on a European level. 
COST Actions cover basic and pre-competitive research as well as activities 
of public utility.


Canadian Radio-Television and Telecoms Commission


Word invented by the writer William Gibson in his play "le Neuromacien". 
It describes the virtual space in which the electronic data of worldwide 
PCs circulate.


Ciencia y Tecnologia para El Desarrollo





Dansk (Danish)

Data Discman

A portable device created by Sony that allows book reading. 
The books are under the shape of small laserdiscs (8 cm diameter).


Deutsch (German)


Digital European Cordless Telecommunications (European standard 
for digital cordless telecommunications)


Developing European Learning through Technical Advance - Flexible 
and distance learning (1990-1994). Specific programme of research 
and technological development (EEC) in the field of telematic systems
in areas of general interest - 


Directorate General of the European Commission (overview of the 
different Directorates General)

Didactive Software

Educative Software


Making information available to a wider audience about the work and 
outcome of a project with the aim of increasing the speed of uptake of its results.

Digital Compression

A way of reducing the number of bits (ones and zeros) in a digital signal by using mathematical algorithms to eliminate redundant information thereby
reducing the space it occupies when being transmitted or recorded.

Digital Transmission

In a digital telecommunication service, the original source is transformed 
into and transmitted as a series of digits in binary code (i.e. 0s or 1s). 
Voice, text, image or data are all equally capable of being coded as a 
digital signal, so that a single network can handle all four forms of transmission (multimedia). The string of binary digits can be abbreviated and then 
re-expanded on arrival, thus economising transmission capacity. 
Different strings of binary digits can be interleaved and transmitted 
together, thus permitting several separate conversations on a single line 
(multiplexing). The string of digits can be encrypted prior to transmission, 
to ensure a high level of information security and privacy. Through 
digitalization, even a severely degraded transmission can be r
econstructed to reproduce perfectly the original source.

Digital European Cordless Telecommunications (DECT)

DECT is the time division multiple access (TDMA)-based digital standard 
chosen by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) 
for future advanced wireless phones, wireless PBX, and radio-based public 
access telecom services.

Digital Video Interactive (DVI)

DVI is a mode of image compression conceived by Intel for use by PC 
micro-computers. Microsoft adopted it for their software Video for Windows, 
Apple for QuickTime, etc.  

Direct Broadcasting by Satellite (DBS)

The use of satellite to transmit high-power TV signals in the BSS 
band for reception via small antennae direct to home (DTH). Such 
services can also be carried on cable.


Storing device used to save information from computers and other 
instruments such as digital picture cameras.


Control over the house appliances via a PC.


Dedicated Road Infrastructure for Vehicle safety in Europe


Digital Video Broadcasting





The European Broadcasting Union the largest professional association of 
national broadcasters in the world. Headquartered in Geneva, and working 
on behalf of its members in the European area, the EBU negotiates 
broadcasting rights for major sports events, operates the Eurovision and 
Euroradio networks, organizes programme exchanges, stimulates and 
coordinates co- productions, and provides a full range of other operational, 
commercial, technical, legal and strategic services. At its office in Brussels, 
the EBU represents the interests of public service broadcasters before the
 European institutions. 


electronic commerce


European Commission (webserver)


European Community Investment Partnership

ecom (e-com)

electronic commerce


Promoting European digital content on global networks: Building on the 
success of INFO2000 and MLIS - Commission sets out to further 
encourage European digital content. The Information Society Directorate 
General of the European Commission is to launch several preparatory 
actions for a joint multi-annual follow-on activity to the INFO2000 and MLIS programmes.


European Communications Satellites


European Currency Unit


European Economic Area. The Member States are the 15 European 
Union Member States (Austria, Greece, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, 
Ireland, Spain, Finland, Italy, Sweden, France, United Kingdom 
(including Gibraltar), Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands) and   
Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

eEurope Initiative

On 8 December 1999 the European Commission has launched an initiative 
entitled "eEurope: An Information Society for All", which proposes 
ambitious targets to bring the benefits of the Information Society within 
reach of all Europeans. The initiative focuses on ten priority areas, from 
education to transport and from healthcare to the disabled.


The European Free Trade Association was established in 1960 by the Stockholm Convention to eliminate tariffs and other restrictions on trade between 
EFTA members. The organisation is nowadays composed of just four
Member States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.


European Investment Bank (


European Information Society Best Practices Gallery


European Information Technology Observatory


Ellinika (Greek)

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

A way unaffiliated companies can use networks to link their businesses. 
While electronic mail between companies is common, electronic data 
interchange passes bigger bundles that replace large paper documents 
such as bills and contracts. Besides saving paper, computers could save 
time by taking over transactions like regular purchase orders that now 
require human intervention.

Electronic-mail (E-mail)

The most common use of networks. It is a service which allow computer 
users to send electronic messages to other computer users. The use of 
sophisticated software ensures that the sent message will find its way 
along different networks until it reaches the address.



Enhanced Television

Designates a TV system which retains the scanning standards of the 
existing 625-line 50-field or 525-line 60-field systems, whilst providing 
various improvements in the quality of the picture and additional features, 
such as the wide screen 16:9 aspect ratio, resulting from new signal 
processing, with or without modification of the transmission standards.


European Radio Messaging System


Launched in 1985, EUREKA has already changed the face of pan-European 
cooperative research and development. It is a framework through which
 industry and research institutes from 26 European countries and the European 
Union develop and exploit the technologies crucial to global competitiveness 
and a better quality of life.


European Survey of  Information Society


EUR-OP is the official publisher of the institutions of the European Union:
 the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission,
 the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the Economic and Social 
Committee (ECSC), the Committee of the Regions, the European Centre 
for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), the European
Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other bodies of the Union.  Based in 
Luxembourg, EUR-OP publishes in more languages than any other publishing 
house in the world. When first established in 1969, the number of working 
languages was four. By 1986 this had increased to nine: Spanish, Danish, 
German, English, Greek, Italian, Dutch and Portuguese. With the accession 
of three new countries, on 1 January 1995, the number of working languages 
grew to 11 to include Finnish and Swedish.


Español (Spanish)


European Space Agency


European Survey of the Information Society


European Strategic Programme for R&D in Information Technology


The most common sort of network used in corporations. Its top speed is 
10 million bits/second. Because it works like a party line, if too many 
people try to send messages at once, the network slows dramatically.


European Telecommunications Standards Institute


European Union


European Telecommunication Satellite Organisation


European Virtual User Association





Frequently Asked Questions


Federal Communication Commission (US)


Suomeksi (Finish)


Fiber-optic cable, made of glass fibers instead of copper strands. 
Data, expressed as pulses of light rather than electrons, is transmitted 
by lasers or other devices. Optical fiber can carry billions of bits a second, 
many times more than coaxial or copper wire, and is less sensitive to electrical interference.

Fiber to the Curb (FTTC), Fibre to the Home (FTTH)

Future optical fibre networks may extend the optical fibre to the individual 
home (FTTH), or the fibre may terminate at a "blackbox" located in the street, 
where the optical signal is converted to an electrical signal and carried the
 remaining distance to each home on the pre-existing copper wiring (FTTC).

Fire Wall

One way to keep hackers out. Some networking devices can limit access 
to sensitive parts of a network. For example, a company might authorize 
access to its salary records only to a computer in a particular location that 
gives a secret password. 


Fiber-optic Link Around the Globe


Bombardment with messages by users of the Internet of any other user 
or advertiser who breaks the "etiquette" of the network. Can run to billions 
of bites of useless data, intended to clog up the offender's computer.


Framework Programme


Français (French)

Full motion

Video images that run in "real time". Full motion is defined as 30 frames 
per second, double the current rate possible on most multi-media applications, 
such as video conferencing.





Group of the 7 most developed industrial countries: Canada, France, 
Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States


Group of 8 (leading industrialised nations): Canada, France, Germany, 
Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States


One of the most common usages for the term is an on-line service 
company that gives customers access to a server or a network as Internet. 
Inside a company, the term usually refers to special hardware that connects 
two different types of
systems, such as a main-frame to a local-area network.


General Agreement on Trade in Services


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


Global Business Dialogue


Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce

Generic Service

A service, such as electronic mail, that can be used for a multitude of 
purposes and adapted to the needs of a particular application.

Gigabit Network

A gigabit network means one that operates at a billion bits a second-100 times Ethernet's speed.


Global Information Infrastructure


Global Inventory Project

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

GSM is a pan-European standard for digital mobile telephony which 
provides a much higher capacity than traditional analogue telephones 
as well as diversified services (voice, data) and a greater transmission 
security through information
encoding for users across Europe.


Global Position System (US)


Global System for Mobile communications (the digital pan-European mobile 
telephone system)




Hard Disc

High capacity (up to 4 giga-octets= million characters) storing device for 


Europe's HDTV broadcast transmission standard supporting 1250-line 
resolution pictures, 50 Hz, in the 16:9 aspect ratio with digital stereo sound.

High Definition Television (HDTV)

System designed to allow viewing at about three times the picture height, 
such that the system is virtually, or nearly, transparent to the quality of 
portrayal that would have been perceived in the original scene or 
performance by a discerning
viewer with normal visual acuity. Such factors include improved 
perception of depth.





Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers


International Chambers of Commerce


Information and Communication Technology


Interchange of Data between Administrations


International  Dialogue and Information Exchange for the Development of a Global Information Society


Internet Law and Policy Forum

Information Superhighway

Something that can't be seen or touched, though it can be talked about ad nauseam. Networking devices and computers, allowing them to operate at a higher speed and carry heavy traffic such as video files.


Information Security


Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (France)

Integrated Broadband Communications (IBC)

The global term for the future overall communications environment, embracing Broadband-ISDN, Narrowband-ISDN, mobile telephony and existing conventional telephone services together with data communications and cable TV.


International Satellite Organisation


Interactivity in a service implies a close control by the user of the service by means of ongoing system of two-way communication between the user and the service provider.


Devices (computers, lines, application programmes, etc) are inter-connected when they can communicate which each other, that is send and receive data. They use the same communication protocols, for example OSI (Open Systems Inter-Connection).


That which facilitates the communication between the computer and its user. It may be a graphic interface or a textual interface. An interface can also be that which facilitates communication between two appliances (e.g. the PERITEL jack links a TV to a videotape recorder or a videodisc player).


The world's largest computer communication system, with an estimated 100-million users. Originated in the United States, though now operating world-wide, the Internet is a loose confederation of principally academic and research computer networks. It is not a network but rather the interconnection of thousands of separate networks using a common language. Developed by the Pentagon, the Internet first linked government agencies and colleges. Now the Net also connects thousands of companies and millions of individuals worldwide who subscribe to on-line services.


Devices, in particular application programmes, are inter-operable when, in addition to communicating with each others, they can also execute together a common task. They co-operate. This requires additional standards, such as API (Application Programme Interfaces) .




Information for Development (World Bank)


Intellectual Property Rights


Information Society


Information Society Activity Centre

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), N-ISDN, B-ISDN

A single network capable of carrying several different types of service, based on voice, data, still or moving image - by means of digital transmission techniques. The ISDN currently being deployed in Europe carries a communication of up to 2 Megabits/second (Narrowband ISDN). Future networks will carry higher speed communications (Broadband ISDN).


Information Society Initiative in Standardization


International Standard Organisation


Information Society Promotion Office (European Commission)


Information Society Technologies programme, a major theme of research and technological development within the European Union's Fifth RTD Framework Programme (1998-2002). 


Italiano (Italian)


Information Technologies


International Telecommunications Union, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland is an international organization within which governments and the private sector coordinate
global telecom networks and services.





Joint European Torus. The JET Joint Undertaking was established in June 1978 to construct and operate the Joint European Torus, of its time the largest single project within the European nuclear fusion programme. It was coordinated by Euratom (the European Atomic Energy Community), and the JET project went on to become the flagship of the Community Fusion Programme and the first fusion facility in the world to achieve significant production of controlled fusion power in 1991. In 1997 JET achieved more than 16 MW fusion power in Deuterium-Tritium plasmas. JET has furthered fusion science well beyond the goals of the original Design Team and is now evolving into a physics and technology basis for preparing ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Under EFDA, the European Fusion Development Agreement, a new JET Implementing Agreement has been set up to use the JET Facilities until at least the end of 2002, replacing the Joint Undertaking which came to an end on December 31st 1999.


Compression standards for still (JPEG) and moving pictures (MEPG) expert groups.


Japan Satellite System





Time which elapses between ordering information and receiving it through an interactive system. PC users on a crowded Ethernet network get a demonstration of latency.


Also known as CDV (Compact Disc Video) or Video Disc. Originally launched by Philips. It was renamed Laserdisc by Pioneer, Philips, Matshusita and Sony in 1990. It stores analogous images and digital sound. The quality of the images is excellent. Laserdisc players can be connected to TVs and Hi-fi systems.


Format used to describe a TV image with black bands at the top bottom of the screen to fit a movie format into a 4:3 TV screen format.

Local Area Network (LAN)

A network for communication between computers confined to a single building or in a closely located group of buildings, permitting users to exchange data, share a common printer or master a common computer, etc. Linked groups of LANs extended over a larger area are termed Wide Area Networks (WANs). WANS may connect users in different buildings or countries. Networks which extend over city-wide areas are called Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs).

Local loop

The section of the telephone transmission network between the local telephone exchange and the subscriber's premises, which currently consists of copper wiring. In the future, optical fibre or wireless will also be used.

Low Earth Orbit (LEO), LEOS (Low Earth Orbit Satellite)

Proposed system of personal telecommunications based on communication via a number of satellites in low orbit. The best known of these proposal is called the "Iridium" project.





Mercosur-EU Business Forum 


Investment Program for the Mediterranean Area


The Mercosur - Mercado Común del Sur / Southern Common Market - is the fourth largest trade bloc in the world in order of economic importance. It is made up of four countries: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The Mercosur was established following the Treaty of Asuncion, signed on 26 March 1991. The definitive form adopted by the bloc arose on the basis of the Ouro Preto Protocols, agreed in December 1994. On 1 January  1995 a Customs Union was born between the four signatory countries.

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN)

Network which extends over city-wide area.


It is the first global experience of telematics and started in France in 1984. It was the precursor of the electronic highway. France Telecom is currently working on a network "Télétel Vitesse Rapide" which allows to obtain information far more quickly.


Multimedia: The concept of closely combining voice, text, data, as well as still and moving image. A multimedia database, for example, would contain textual information, images, video clips, tables of data, all equally easy to access. A multimedia telecommunications service (such as B-ISDN) would permit the user to send or receive any of these forms of information, interchangeability at will. (Multimedia on ISPO)


MultiMedia Systems

Mobile Telephone, Cellular

A system of mobile telephony whereby a country is divided into thousands of small areas (cells), each of which is served by its own "base station" for low-powered radio transmissions. This allows a user in one cell to transmit on the same frequency as another user in another cell without interfering in each other's conversation. Cellular networks may employ analogue or digital transmission. Existing networks are largely analogue, while new networks use the European GSM digital standard. 

Mobile Telephone, CT2 (2nd Generation Cordless Telephone, "Telepoint")

An economical system of cellular telephony. Unlike full cellular, the user may not move from cell to cell during the call. The service is commercialized as "Bi-Bop" in France, "Greenpoint" in the Netherlands, "Pointer" in Finland, etc.

Modem (MODulator-DEModulator)

Device which transforms analogous signals transmitted by telephone lines into digital signals which can be transmitted by computer and vice versa.


Memorandum of Understanding


Member States of the European Union

Multimedia (MM)

The concept of closely combining voice, text, data, as well as still and moving image. A multimedia database, for example, would contain textual information, images, video clips, tables of data, all equally easy to access. A multimedia telecommunications service (such as B-ISDN) would permit the user to send or receive any of these forms of information, interchangeability at will.


In telecommunications terminology, this term means carrying multiple signals on a communications carrier channel. In recent cable programming terminology, it refers to "cloning" one cable channel, like MTV or HBO, into multiple,
complementary channels to reach a broader audience. The device that makes this possible is called a "multiplexer" or "mux".

Multiplexed Analogue Components (MAC)

TV transmission system, pioneered in the UK in the early 1980s, in which the colour signals are time division multiplexed, thus, interference between chrominance and luminance does not occur as in PAL. In the D2-MAC version, sound is carried as digital data sent in a duobinary form (hence the "D" letter) at 10.125 Mbits/s.

MUSE (Multiple Sub-Nyquist Encoding)

The signal compression methods developed in Japan for the satellite delivery of HDTV signals.




Natural Language

Possibility of interact with a PC using words of daily language.

Navigator's Guide

In interactive TV it is the system to choose among the proposed programme.


Communication Networks correspond to a complete system of communications between user's terminals. Networks may be "point to point" (the transmission goes from a fixed origin to a fixed destination), "switched" (the transmission is switched so as to reach a single destination out of many) or "broadcast" (the transmission goes simultaneously to multiple destinations). Networks may be "public" (owned by an operator and open to any member of the public that subscribes) or "private" (owned or leased by an individual or company or group of companies exclusively for its own use).

Network, Data

A network specialised in the transmission of data rather than voice. Among such networks are Circuit Switched Data Networks (CSDN), Packet Switched Data Networks (PSDN), Frame Relay Networks and Switched Multimegabit Data Service Networks (SMDS).

Network, Intelligent

An intelligent network includes sophisticated features superior to those of the ordinary telephone service, such as advanced software allowing the customisation of the services provided to individual customers. For example, it allows the called party to redirect calls intended to another terminal (e.g. from a home phone to an office phone). It allows calls to be billed wholly or in part to somebody else than the caller ("free phone" services). It also provides virtual private network services.

Network Operating System

Software that allows a PC or a larger server machine to manage files and handle other central networking functions.


Non-Governmental Organisation


Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation)


National Information Infrastructure (US)


New Independent States (NIS and the Information Society)

N-ISDN (Narrowband ISDN)

A single network capable of carrying several different types of service, based on voice, data, still or moving image - by means of digital transmission techniques. The ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) currently being deployed in Europe carries a communication of up to 2 Megabits/second (Narrowband ISDN). Future networks will carry higher speed communications (Broadband ISDN).


Commission Network of Information Society Correspondents


Nederlands (Dutch)


Point of connection and conversion between fibre optic and coaxial cable.


New Transatlantic Agenda


The colour TV system established by the US National Television Standards Committee and used in North America, Japan and their dependents. NTSC produces interlaced 525-line 30-frame/second pictures.


Nippon Telegraph and Telephone





Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


Official Journal of the European Communities: The Official Journal is EUR-OP's (Publications Office) main publication and the only one in the world to appear daily in eleven languages. The L series currently contains all the legislative documents of the European Union, while the C series comprises information and notices issued by the institutions of the Union, such as preparatory legislative documents, reports on the progress of cases before the Court of Justice and questions put by Members of Parliament to the Commission and Council. The S series contains the calls for tenders. Further, the EU Institutions have decided to add an exclusively electronic section to the Official Journal C series, known as the "OJ C E". Some documents previously published in the OJ C may be transferred to the OJ C E. An index of all documents published in a given OJ C E will be printed in the paper edition of the OJ C of the same day.

Open Network Provision (ONP)

Principle of non-discriminatory opening of telecommunication networks to all telecom operators and service providers on the basis of the harmonisation of access and usage conditions of telecommunications infrastructures with the view to develop a trans-European information market. The ONP is being applied to leased lines, packet switching transmission services and ISDN, and will be applied to voice telephony in 1998.

Optical Fibre Network

Telecommunication networks based on fined glass fibres, down which signals may be sent by flashing a laser.


Opportunities for applications of information and communication technologies in Rural Areas (1990-1994); Specific programme of research and technological development (EEC) in the field of telematic systems in areas of general interest - Telematics systems for rural areas. 


Organisation de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique d’Outre- Mer




PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange), PBX (Private Branch Exchange)

The private switchboard located on one's premises and by which a business subscriber controls the calls on his own internal telephones.

PAL (Phase Alternation Line)

West German-developed colour TV systems used in most of Europe, Africa, Australasia and South America. Like SECAM, PAL produce interlaced 625-line, 25 frame/second pictures.


Programming sold on a per-occasion or per-title basis. Access can be controlled electronically in response to subscriber orders using an addressable cable converter. Digital Signals switching the service off or on are sent to that converter's unique "address".


Personal Computer

PCM (Pulse code modulation)

The most common way of converting an analogue source into a digital form.

Personal Communication Network (PCN)

A form of cellular telephone network specifically adapted for personal portable use based on a technology known as DCS 1800. Such services are currently being deployed in Europe. Similar services in the USA are referred to as PCS (Personal Communication Services).

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

A pocket sized personal computer with advanced features and communications facilities, where text is introduced by handwriting on a screen, also referred to as "notepad" computer.


Programme Management Office 


Used in reference to a computer programme, portability means that the programme can be executed on a number of different computers without or with only minimal changes.


Pilot Project


Multiannual Community programme to stimulate the establishment of the Information Society in Europe (1998-2002)


Standard rules that govern how computers talk together.

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)

The everyday telephone network used for the transmission of voice conversations, fax images and for low speed data transmission.


Portugês (Portuguese)





Research and Development


R&D for Advanced Communications in Europe (1990-1994); Specific research and technological development programme (EEC) in the field of communication technologies.

Radio messaging

Sending of messages via radio waves.


Réseau Français de la Recherche


Réseau Intertropical d’Ordinateurs


Réseau Internet Protocol Européen


Research, Technological development and Demonstration





The transformation of an analogous signal (Sound Image) into a digital code. Sampling consists of the analysis of electronic signals at regular and brief intervals. A large number of synthesisers produce sounds created by sampling.

Satellite Dish

Device necessary to get channels broadcast via satellite. The diameter varies from 60cm on.


Sustainable Development Network Program (United Nations)

SECAM (Séquentiel couleur à mémoire)

The colour TV standard developed in France, also used in Eastern Europe, CIS and parts of the Middle East and Africa. SECAM produces interlaced 625-line, 25-frame/second pictures. 

Security of Information and Systems

It has three basic components: confidentiality, integrity and availability. Confidentiality refers to the protection of sensitive information from unauthorised disclosure. Integrity means safeguarding the accuracy and completeness of information and computer software. Availability relates to ensuring that information and vital services are available to users when required.


The machine that talks to clients. More precisely, anything from a PC to a supercomputer that shares files and other services with multiple users.


Société Européenne des Satellites

Smart Card

It is a card that is able to store digital information. It was created in 1974 and used for many purposes since (e.g. credit cards, telephone cards).


Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. On 3 April 1996 the European Commission has adopted a Recommendation  concerning the definition of SMEs (Official journal No. L 107 of 30/04/1996) which provides a clear global framework for all the measures directed towards micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. The adopted definition is as follows:

  Medium-sized Small Micro-enterprise
Max. number of employees




Max. turnover (in million ECU)




Max. balance-sheet total (in million ECU)




To be classed as an SME or a micro-enterprise, an enterprise has to satisfy the criteria for the number of employees and one of the two financial criteria, i.e. either the turnover total or the balance sheet total. In addition, it must be independent, which means less than 25% owned by one enterprise (or jointly by several enterprises) falling outside the definition of an SME or a micro-enterprise, whichever may apply. The thresholds for the turnover and the balance sheet total will be adjusted regularly, to take account of changing economic circumstances in Europe (normally every four years).


That which belongs to the domain of intellectual creation in contrast to the appliances which facilitates their reproduction. The programmes for computers, CD-ROM and video games are all software.


Software Technologies


Special Telecommunication Action for Regional Development


Svenska (Swedish)


Ability of a communication network to allow subscribers to conduct two-way dialogue, or the number of screens on a network.

Synthetic Image

An image created by computer software. Many of the sequences featuring dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were created using 3D synthetic images.





TransAtlantic Business Dialogue


TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue


TransAtlantic Small Business Initiative


Technologies for Business Processes


Trade Electronic Data Interchange Systems


The application of information and communications technologies and services, usually in direct combination. A Telematics Application is a system or service meeting User needs. (Telematics Applications within the 4th Framework Programme)

Telematics Infrastructure

The assemblage of telecommunications and information-processing systems and services that offers a base for telematics applications.


A service provided from a remote location using the telematics infrastructure.


Work carried out using the telematics infrastructure at a place other than that where the results of the work are needed. This definition covers home, mobile or "telecottage"-based teleworkers employed by an organisation, independent workers and teleservice companies offering specific services to both firms and individuals.


Trans-European telecommunication Networks


Transatlantic Economic Partnership


Third Mediterranean Countries

Token Ring

The networking scheme most closely associated with International Business Machines Corp. The term comes from a type of data packet, called a token, that is used to keep multiple computers on a network from talking at once. Each user's turn comes as the token passes in turn around the ring of computers of the network.





United Kingdom


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development


United Nations Development Program


United Nations Education Science Culture Organisation


United Nations Trade Point Development Center


United States


A person or organisation using a Telematics Application.

Universal Service

A set of basic services that must be made available at an affordable price to all users by public or private operators irrespective of the user's geographical location.

Universalisé Bidirectionnalité Interactivité (UBI)

Canadian interactive cable system established by Videotron in Quebec which is due to launch in September 1995.




Value Added Service (VAS), Value Added Network Service (VANS)

Services other than those under monopoly may be offered by other service suppliers which use national network as the basic transmission medium but "add value" to the basic transmission facility. What is exactly included in the notion depends on the regulatory situation of each country.

Video-on demand

Systems that enable the viewers to order and see a given programme at the exact time the viewer specifies. Near-video-on-demand (NVOD) systems approximate this capacity. This can be accomplished by staggering the start of a
programme every 15 or 30 minutes.

Virtual Reality

Computer-based systems that supply the visual and aural effects to project the viewer into an imaginary environment beyond the screen. The user is supplied with computer-generated images and sounds giving the impression of reality. The user interacts with the artificial world by means of sensors and apparatus including helmets ("visiocasque") and gloves which link the user's perceptions and movements and the audio-visual effects. Future work in virtual reality is directed towards increasing the impression of reality, for example by means of 3D images, and transmitting "virtual reality worlds" to users located remotely from the source computer.


Small informatics programme able to disrupt the functioning of other programmes.


It is a decodificator that enables the user to contact a video on demand service.


Very-Small-Aperture Terminal (for satellite communications)




Wide-Area Network (WAN)

A complement to LAN. A WAN consists of multiple local networks tied together, typically using telephone-company services. WANs may connect users in different buildings or countries.


World Intellectual Property Organisation, Organisation Mondiale de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OMPI)


Work Programme


World Trade Organisation


World Telecommunications Standardisation Conference


World Wide Web




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