Milestone-Proposal talk:ADSL

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Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

Advocates’ Checklist

  1. Is proposal for an achievement rather than for a person? If the citation includes a person's name, have the proposers provided the required justification for inclusion of the person's name?
  2. Was proposed achievement a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement to an existing technology?
  3. Were there prior or contemporary achievements of a similar nature?
  4. Has the achievement truly led to a functioning, useful, or marketable technology?
  5. Is proposal adequately supported by significant references (minimum of five) such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books? At least one of the references from a peer-reviewed scholarly book or journal article. The full text of the material, not just the references, shall be present. If the supporting texts are copyright-encumbered and cannot be posted on the ETHW for intellectual property reasons, the proposers shall email a copy to the History Center so that it can be forwarded to the advocate. If the advocate does not consider the supporting references sufficient, the advocate may ask the proposer(s) for additional ones.
  6. Are the scholarly references sufficiently recent?
  7. Is proposed citation readable and understandable by the general public?
  8. Does the proposed plaque site fulfill the requirements?
  9. Is the proposal quality comparable to that of IEEE publications?
  10. Scientific and technical units correct? (e.g. km, mm, hertz, etc.) Are acronyms correct and properly upperercased or lowercased?
  11. Date formats correct as specified in Section 6 of Milestones Program Guidelines?,_Plaque_Locations

Reviewers’ Checklist

  1. Is suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?
  2. Is evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Plaque Citation?
  3. Does proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?
  4. Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

In answering the questions above, the History Committee asks that reviewers apply a similar level of rigor to that used to peer-review an article, or evaluate a research proposal. Some elaboration is desirable. Of course the Committee would welcome any additional observations that you may have regarding this proposal.

Submission and Approval Log

Submitted date: 16 April 2021
Advocate approval date:
History Committee approval date:
Board of Directors approval date:

Original Citation Title and Text -- Administrator4 (talk) 15:52, 29 July 2022 (UTC)

ADSL: expediting Broadband Internet Access for society

Broadband as we know it began with the first highly integrated ADSL solution, created in Antwerp by Alcatel. The system was revolutionary, taking Internet access speeds to new heights while making broadband affordable. The ingenuity of Alcatel engineers truly accelerated Broadband Internet availability for society, changing our lives and the world, as we know it.

Comment from Tom Starr (published by Wim van Etten on behalf of Tom Starr) -- Wvetten (talk) 12:57, 25 April 2024 (UTC)


ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) is a milestone in telecommunications, paving the way for the internet. Since the introduction of ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service in the mid-1990’s, a billion people in more than one hundred countries have enjoyed broadband access via ADSL and the newer forms of DSL, which enable broadband services up to two gigabits per second. Back in 1990, when ADSL existed only in laboratories, many people doubted it would succeed. Would ADSL work over poorly balanced and noisy telephone lines? Would anyone but a few nerds be willing to pay extra for broadband access? Would the telephone companies learn how to install, operate, and manage switched data? Would the cost of a chip with one hundred million transistors be affordable? With vision and faith, ADSL vendors and service providers built it, and hundreds of millions of customers signed up. Breakthrough advances in modulation, coding, equalization, synchronization, network architecture, and data protocols enabled the quantum leap from 34 kb/s voiceband modems to multi-megabit broadband access. ADSL standards created by Committee T1 (USA), ETSI (Europe), ITU-T, and the Broadband Forum (originally named “ADSL Forum”) drove costs down and opened the market for myriad competing vendors. Even today, millions are still served by DSL technology while others are served by fiber-optic access, built upon the lessons learned from ADSL. The importance of ADSL was recently highlighted at a US White House National Medal of Technology and Innovation awards ceremony. The internet we know today, with video streaming, video conferencing, work and study from home, would not be possible without the broadband access founded by ADSL.

The wording of the proposed citation on the plaque is accurate. The accompanying proposal accurately describes the historic technical achievement. ADSL’s innovation is further supported by hundreds of patents. The proposal discusses the related and competing technologies, and correctly concludes that ADSL far exceeded the breadth of the deployment of the alternative technologies for more than a decade.

Thomas Starr – IEEE Senior Life Member, Chairman ITU-T WP1/15 (DSL and fiber standards), Chairman emeritus T1E1.4 (US DSL standards), President emeritus DSL Forum.