- Commonwealth initiatives
The telecoms industry in the Commonwealth
The telecoms industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Commonwealth, the underlying factor being the advent of mobile cellular phones. By most accounts, liberalisation has been the key trigger in the growth of telecoms in any country. Experience from around the Commonwealth has shown rapid progress in ICT accessibility and affordability once national ICT policies were altered from supporting a government-owned monopoly ICT (mainly landline) provider to a liberalised regime with less institutional barriers to market entry. A common phenomenon in many countries has been an increase in mobile cellular use coupled with a stagnancy or a decrease in the penetration of landline telephones, as the demand of new and current telecom users shifts to mobile phones and due to, in some cases, infrastructural problems and costs on the landline side.
The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is the premier organisation working to promote ICT development in the Commonwealth today. It is an international development partnership between the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, business and civil society organisations. The CTO’s main focus is 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 ICT in the specific areas of telecommunications, IT, broadcasting and the internet.