Q and A with CANTO

Tell us briefly about what CANTO does?

CANTO is a non-profit association made up of operators, organizations, companies and individuals in the ICT (telecommunications) sector. The association has a Caribbean focus as it relates to ICT issues for the region with a global perspective. The policy strategy of the association is directed by a board of directors appointed by the membership. This strategy is executed by the staff of a permanent secretariat located in Trinidad and Tobago. The association’s activities are financed through the contributions of the members as well as other revenue generating projects.

Is CANTO involved in the forming of the CARICOM Single ICT Space?

CANTO supports CARICOM by providing a space on our platform and assisting in the general public awareness by promoting the initiatives to our membership and other stakeholders.

List 5 major achievement over the last 3 years for CANTO?
  • Successfully lobbied through the CANTO chair for future mobile services in the UHF Band to go forward to the World Radio Conference.
  • Initiated code of practice on Safeguarding the Open Internet. CANTO shares with the Policy Makers, Regulators and Operators a common responsibility to promote growth and development of the sector; this code of practice demonstrates a voluntary obligation towards preserving the open internet on behalf of the operators in the region. Based on the principles of self-regulation, the code promotes constant dialogue with all stakeholders and encourages good business practices.
  • CANTO encouraged the BVI regulator to accept a voluntary code of practice rather than introducing new regulation.
  • DPR project on risk management. A joint initiative with United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and CANTO Disaster Recovery Planning Working Committee.
  • Proposal and policy papers ranging from Broadband, OTT and Environmental Sound Management from the eight (8) working committees.
What is CANTO's position on Net Neutrality in the region?

In February 2013, CANTO published to all regulators and policymakers proposals on how Internet penetration can be accelerated in the region in its paper, ‘Incentivising Broadband Investment in the Caribbean Region’. CANTO’s research suggests that Internet penetration can be accelerated in the region by encouraging roll-out of the network by deploying:
  • Import Duty Relief;
  • Consumption Tax Relief and Tax Credits;
  • Reduced License Fees or Licence Fee Waivers for a specific period;
  • Universal Service Funds;
  • Human Resourcing;
  • More Government Services Online.
The industry through CANTO has signalled its intention to continue the dialogue with the Caribbean ICT Ministers through a collaborative approach to dealing with these kinds of issues in the region. Chairman of CANTO Julian Wilkins in an interview with the Antigua Observer stated that: "This was part of the principle of net neutrality that telecoms operators were willing to sign on to, but cautioned that if more "strict net neutrality" began to prevent operators from charging differently, according to their classes of Internet customers, the sector would take a blow".

CANTO is a telecoms organisation but the Vision and Mission relates to ICT in general, can you expand on this?

CANTO is a dynamic association. This means that the organization is constantly evolving to reflect the nature of the business of our membership and the sector which it serves. CANTO endeavors to be all encompassing in a sector that is always expanding and has a vision of inclusiveness. In short, we consider Telecommunications and ICT are interconnected and can no longer be viewed as two separate sectors.

List some issues that are on the front burner for CANTO at the moment?
  • Net Neutrality
  • OTT
  • Disaster Response Management
  • Digital Transformation
What are some customer gripes in the telecoms space?
  • Net Neutrality
  • OTT
  • Regulations
  • Spectrum Management
I see "CANTO Telecoms Boot Camp" on the website, can you give more info on this and when is the next one?

This was a very successful telecoms forum targeting new and seasoned telecommunications professionals. We are currently reviewing our training program and we invite readers to stay connected to our social media for more information on upcoming programs. We will offer two excellent courses at our upcoming 34th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition in Panama ( 23 rd - 26 th July) at the behest of our members: (1) Step up leadership forum and (2) GSMA lead forum -
Leveraging Mobile to Achieve SDG Targets.

More info on the SONAR app and when will it become available to public?

The sonar app is in the testing phase and the team is seeking funding for the pilot projects from a few members, namely Haiti, St. Maarten, Belize, Suriname and Jamaica.

Why is LTE slow to arrive in Trinidad and is that something that CANTO is looking into?

CANTO's objective is to provide a platform whereby our members and suppliers can network and do business. The decision to adopt any type of technology is dependent on the operator’s strategic plan and their respective regulatory framework. That being said some of our members in Trinidad have already deployed LTE 4G.

Blog editor note - Sent this follow-up question and will update this blog post when and if I get a response - Why is TATT taking so long to announce LTE spectrum awards?

Anything else you would like to add?

Join us at CANTO 2018 the 34th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition in Panama from 22nd -25th July, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Panama. Meet, network and create new business at a premier ICT event for Latin America and the Caribbean.