AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, DISH, EchoStar, Google, Intel, Level 3, Microsoft, Time Warner and Verizon have banded together to form a voluntary broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (TAG) whose mission is to “bring together engineers and other similar technical experts to develop consensus on broadband network management practices or other related technical issues that can affect users’ Internet experiences, including the impact to and from applications, content and devices that utilize the Internet,” it was announced in Washington yesterday.

Led by University of Colorado, Boulder adjunct professor and former chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology Dale Hatfield, TAG may also seek to educate policymakers on these technical issues, attempt to address specific technical matters in an effort to minimize policy disputes and serve as a sounding board for new ideas and network management practices.

“The TAG will function as a neutral, expert technical forum and promote a greater consensus around technical practices within the Internet community,” Prof. Hatfield stated in a news release.

“The TAG would consider a number of factors in looking at technical practices, including whether a practice is used by others in the industry; whether alternative technical approaches are available; the impact of a technical practice on other entities; and whether a technical practice is aimed at specific content, applications or companies.”

In order to obtain a comprehensive perspective the group intends to establish a broad-based membership made up of engineers and other technical experts from academia, non-profit and Internet user communities, as well as participating businesses including broadband providers, application and content developers, and equipment manufacturers.