CTO's 115th anniversary

From Subsea to Cyberspace

On 20 January 2016, guests from across the Commonwealth joined CTO staff at the Royal Institution in London to mark the launch of the CTO’s celebrations for its 115th anniversary. Guests included ministers, secretaries general, high commissioners and industry executives.

The event was an opportunity for guests to learn about the history and successive transformations of the CTO since its creation as the Pacific Cable Board (PCB) in 1901, and also to reflect on the development of communication technology and to discuss challenges and opportunities presented for social empowerment and economic development of Commonwealth nations and citizens.

Special guests at the event included the CTO Chairman Umar Danbatta, Secretary-General Shola Taylor, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Information and Communications Alpha Kanu, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union Malcolm Johnson, and Senior Advisor to ICANN’s President Theresa Swinehart.

Collaboration was a recurring theme throughout the event. In his address, Secretary-General Taylor outlined the history of the CTO and how the world of communications has progressed from the telegraph and early radio communication systems to today’s Internet, from primary and mostly distinct and unconnected physical communication networks to today’s cyberspace. For Mr Taylor, it is no surprise that stakeholder collaboration is so central to the CTO’s work today, being one of the critical factors of the development and history of the CTO. Indeed, he said, the same collaboration that enabled the roll-out of the first trans-Pacific telegraph cable managed by PCB foreshadowed the intergovernmental organisation the CTO is today.