The Open Compute Project (OCP), the Facebook-born initiative to make datacenter computing more scalable, efficient and affordable through open software and hardware, has taken another step forward by securing the support of several telecommunications companies as it launches a new telco project.

OCP, which was founded in 2011 by Facebook, Intel, Rackspace, Goldman Sachs and Andy Bechtolsheim, originated from an effort by Facebook to keep its datacenter open in order to lower costs and avoid vendor lock-in. The result, according to the project, "is a data center full of vanity free servers which is 38 percent more efficient and 24 percent less expensive to build and run than other state-of-the-art data centers."

That's not completely surprising. Open standards for both software and hardware proliferate today, on a level that was hard to imagine even just five years ago. Against this backdrop, it's natural that the investment of the OCP's founding partners has paid off in helping to establish more datacenter efficiency.

But now, the OCP is breaking new ground by launching a telco project. The goal is to bring the same efficiencies and openness that OCP has promoted within traditional datacenters to the telecommunications industry.

AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, EE, SK Telecom, Verizon and Equinix have joined OCP as part of the new initiative. Nexius and Nokia are backing it, too.

The stated goals of the new OCP telco project focus mostly on increasing communication and openness between providers in order to promote open standards. But the endeavor promises to help companies innovate internally, too.

For example, Equinix is already pitching its participation as a way to highlight its vendor-neutrality solutions for financial services and electronic payments. "Equinix is known for our carrier- and service provider-neutrality," the company wrote in a blog post. "Our customers, including OCP members, can utilize any technology they choose to build their own ecosystems and search for ways to advance the project’s aims and their business goals."