COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The IEEE's 802.20 Executive Committee and the related Oversight Committee have changed the working group's procedures to "one entity, one vote," in response to allegations that Qualcomm Inc. and other working group members might have tried to "stuff the ballot" by bringing additional employees and contractors into key meetings.
The working group went on hiatus a year ago for a "cooling off period" for three months, after Intel Corp. and Motorola Inc. threatened to file formal complaints over working group irregularities. Former 802.20 chairman Jerry Upton resigned, after many members suggested that he was working in Qualcomm's interest, though he was an independent contractor.
The 802.20 Mobile Broadband Wireless Access Working Group was working on concepts for broadband access that could allow multi-megabit services from higher speed vehicles than 802.16 WiMax. Many proposals were based on concepts similar to Flarion Inc.'s "flash OFDM" (Flarion was later acquired by Qualcomm). Independent observers wondered if the working group was being eclipsed by 802.16e, the mobile version of WiMax. What's more, the hiatus has not helped the industry's perception that interest in 802.20 may be difficult to restart.
Traditionally, 802 working groups have operated under a "one person, one vote" structure, but sources in Ethernet and PAN (Personal Area Networks) working groups questioned, off the record, why the 802 LAN/WAN group does not adopt the single-entity model for all its working groups. Under this model, an entity could be a corporation, school, development group, coalition or any institution interested in participation.
"There's been a running concern about the role of the truly independent contractor. Does a move to single-entity shut out the independent engineer?" a source in the 802.3 community asked. "But on top of this concern, I think the IEEE is just dreading the bureaucratic nightmare of making this shift for 802 at large. Standardizing a new voting approach might make the most sense, but the easiest path might be addressing it [one] working group at a time."