JIS News

Preparations are in high gear for the high level Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) Forum and 47th Meeting of the CTO Council, which is slated to take place in the island later this month.
Up to 300 delegates and technology ministers from Commonwealth countries are expected to converge at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay, from September 24 to 27 for the conference, which will be held under the theme: “Harnessing the potential of Next Generational Networking (NGN) to facilitate ICT convergence”.
“The forum is also expected to get the perspective of telecom regulators from around the globe including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America,” said Director of Consumer and Public Affairs at the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), David Geddes.
He told JIS News that one of the highlights of the forum will be presentations by representatives from telecom giants, Nokia Corporation, British Telecom, Telecom South Africa and Fujitsu on the final day.
Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Ransford Smith; British Member of Parliament, Lord David Currie, who also chairs the Office of Communications (OFCOM), the telecommunications regulatory agency in England; and former Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, are among the list of high profile speakers on the programme. Chief Executive Officer of the CTO, Dr. Ekwow Stio-Garbrah will also be in attendance.
“This is an extremely high level forum you’re talking about, bringing together ministers, leading figures in the private sector (and) in the regulatory environment ..you’re getting all of them together at one function, where you can hear the ideas that they have, you can put questions to them; to a large extent you can have dialogue with them. So we’re going to have a lot of exchange of ideas and information coming out of this,” Mr. Geddes said.
Director General of OUR and current chairman of the CTO, J. Paul Morgan, commenting on the theme of the conference, said that the “convergence and the development of NGNs mark probably the single biggest change in the national telecommunications sector since liberalization, and brings with it the potential to significantly impact the development of even the smallest country”.
In the meantime, Mr. Geddes said that Jamaica stands to benefit tremendously not only from the exchange of information, but also the boost to tourism that will accrue from the staging of the event.
He noted that “lots of bookings” have already started coming in. Bookings are being handled by the CTO’s London office as well as the Ritz Carlton, where most of the visitors will be accommodated, while others will be staying at nearby hotels.
“Some of these persons may be first time visitors to Jamaica, and will bring spouses along with them. We expect that their experience will be such that they will return to their homeland and spread the good news about how warm and welcoming it was in Jamaica for them,” he said.
He also informed that “a tremendous amount of work has been done” by a committee comprising OUR and Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce (MITEC) representatives in getting security and entertainment arrangements in place for the event.
“There is a lot of different areas that have to be looked at. for instance. we have had to establish a security liaison committee because it is a lot of high level delegates coming and you want to make sure that every precaution is taken. On the other side of it, we have to create plans to entertain these high level delegates and ministers, so there will be a Jamaica night for them, where they’ll actually get to taste authentic Jamaican food and authentic Jamaican music.
Jamaica is really very honoured to be asked to host this prestigious event,” he stated.
According to Wikipedia, NGN is a broad term to describe some key architectural evolutions in telecommunication core and access networks that will be deployed over the next five to10 years. The general idea behind NGN is that one network transports all information and services (voice, data, and all sorts of media such as video) by encapsulating these into packets, like it is on the Internet.
One benefit of the next generational switch is the rich service creation environment it creates, allowing carriers to develop, deploy, and most importantly, pay only for the services that their customers require.
CTO celebrated its 100 anniversary this year.

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