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 September 13, 2010 – Commonwealth nations, especially the developing countries, could ensure faster growth for their economies if they take faster measures to ensure more rapid deployment of broadband and access to it by a larger percentage of their citizens. This was the general view of ICT Ministers, senior government officials, regulatory agency heads........

 
Press Release
Sri Lanka Hosts 8th Annual Forum and the 50th Council Meeting of the CTO

September 13, 2010 – Commonwealth nations, especially the developing countries, could ensure faster growth for their economies if they take faster measures to ensure more rapid deployment of broadband and access to it by a larger percentage of their citizens. This was the general view of ICT Ministers, senior government officials, regulatory agency heads, and international ICT experts, who spoke today at the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation’s (CTO) 8th Annual CTO Forum 2010. The Forum, being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is exploring concrete ways to raise awareness of the full potential of the Internet, broadband and other information and communication technologies in developing countries.

The three-day conference, which was opened by The President of Sri Lanka, H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is expected to identify best-practice policies, regulation, investment options and deployment strategies that are best likely to connect consumers in semi-urban and rural areas in the shortest possible time. The forum is discussing and assessing the benefits of increased broadband use by consumers, standardization needs and issues to bridge and measure the standardization gap in Asia Pacific, and regulatory incentives for making broadband affordable to consumers. Discussions over the next two days will also cover the effective use of donor funds, the availability of other funding mechanisms including the CTO’s initiative to create a Commonwealth Telecom Development Fund for broadband infrastructure and services. It will examine how the development of broadband networks is contributing to both broader economic growth for nations, regional integration amongst nations, profitability for ICT operating companies, and overall global prosperity.


Stressing on the need for collaborative partnerships to find creative solutions to broadband availability, affordability and accessibility, the CEO of the CTO, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, said, “In an era where access to information and connectivity is of paramount importance to help bridge the North-South divide and urban-rural economic disparities, the global community must work in greater concert to ensure that every individual has access to basic broadband connectivity for purposes of improved literacy, education, knowledge, commercial and business opportunities, and self-empowerment. For many disadvantaged people and communities broadband connectivity is the surest and cheapest way to make them an integral citizens of the global village. It is our duty to work together to ensure that those deprived of this basic tool, especially in the undeserved regions, are provided this important link to communicate with the outside world.”

Dr. Spio-Garbrah said that the Forum provides an excellent opportunity to address issues concerning the strategies, plans and programmes for extending regional and continental broadband connectivity, as well as the funding gaps especially for terrestrial broadband investments. The issue of locally-relevant content, once the infrastructure was deployed, is also of paramount importance, he stressed.

Hosted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), and organised in conjunction with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo, the conference is based on the theme “Towards Digital Commonwealth: Broadband connectivity for all”.

Mr. Anusha Palpita, Director-General of TRCSL, in welcoming the delegates said that Sri Lanka is a country committed to deploying state of the art technologies in telecommunications, and is honored to host this historic event. He added that discussions at the Forum and the subsequent 50th Council Meeting will lead to fruitful outcomes and support the rapid expansion of broadband in the South Asian region. Mr. Palpita further said that the expansion of communications facilities, especially through broadband, was growing at a prompt pace in Sri Lanka and TRCSL was committed to extending these facilities and the resulting benefits to consumers, particularly those living in the semi – urban and rural areas of the country.

He went on to add that as the host nation, the CTO Forum was a significant event for Sri Lanka, which currently holds the senior vice-chairman post of the CTO. The conference will bring much benefit to Sri Lanka by providing exposure to international experience and global best practices for broadband strategies within other nations that may have particular relevance to the country’s national objectives in expanding broadband deployment, adoption and usage. It will strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacity to review broadband strategies for Sri Lanka.

Following the conference, the 50th Council Meeting of the CTO, hosted by Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) from 16-17 September, will be held at the Ceylon Continental Hotel.

Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) is the national regulatory agency for telecommunications in Sri Lanka. Their objective is to ensure the provision of a reliable and efficient, national and international telecommunication services in Sri Lanka.
TRCSL promotes sustained development in the telecommunication industry by shaping the regulatory process, protecting public interest and being responsive to challenges in an increasingly competitive market. TRCSL ensures that competition in the market is open, fair and effective.
For further information, visit www.trc.gov.lk

Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

With a history dating back to 1901, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is an international development partnership between the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, businesses and civil society organisations. The CTO provides the international community with effective means to help bridge the digital divide and achieve social and economic development, by delivering to developing countries unique knowledge-sharing programmes in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

With its headquarters in London and recipient members based in Europe, the Caribbean, Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, the CTO has been at the centre of continuous and extensive international communications development funding, co-operation and assistance programmes. The CTO’s mission is to reduce global poverty through the more efficient utilization of ICTs, and its development agenda reflects the priorities set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

For more information: www.cto.int

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