The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) has joined the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), a coalition of private sector, public sector, and civil society organizations dedicated to achieving affordable access to both mobile and fixed-line Internet in developing countries. The primary goal of A4AI is to facilitate the reaching of the UN Broadband Commission’s Broadband Target of entry-level broadband services priced at less than 5% of average monthly income. A4AI aims to achieve this goal by making recommendations on policy and regulatory best practices, producing country ratings, undertaking research, developing case studies and encouraging change through in-country engagements and intra-country dialogue.
Formed in 1901, the CTO is the oldest and largest Commonwealth organization in the field of Information and Communication Technologies, with over 40 Commonwealth countries and more than 100 other stakeholders, including the private sector, as members. Broadband, particularly Mobile Broadband, is a key priority area of the CTO’s work, due to the potential it has to promote development. Today smart mobile devices and a multitude of digital applications facilitate education, business, governance and many other services. By joining A4AI the CTO has demonstrated the importance it places on making these benefits universally available by minimizing the constraints such as access and affordability. The CTO’s membership network consisting of ICT policy makers, regulators and operators coupled with its operational activities in research, capacity building and awareness rising, perfectly compliment the work of A4AI.
Soon after joining, the CTO was elected as one of the 12 members of the Advisory Council of A4AI, which is the key governing body of the Alliance. As one of four organizations representing Public Sector and Academia, the CTO will work with the rest of the members of the Advisory Council to provide oversight, strategic direction and high-level decision making for the Alliance.
Commenting on the occasion, Prof Tim Unwin, Secretary General of the CTO said “The CTO is delighted to become a member of A4AI and to be elected to its Advisory Council. I am certain that this relationship, whereby we will work collaboratively, drawing on the strengths of each other, will facilitate our members reaching universal Broadband coverage. It is also an opportunity for the CTO to contribute to the Global efforts in bringing Broadband to the marginalized people.”
Adding her thoughts, Ms Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet said “Persistently high Internet access costs in the developing world continue to act as a major barrier to social and economic development. By working with CTO and other Alliance members, we will advocate for policy and regulatory practices to drive these costs down and enable the next two billion to come online. We have no doubt that CTO will make a significant contribution to A4AI owing to their expertise, insight and energy.”