BT has joined with arch-rival Cable & Wireless to support telecoms development in Commonwealth countries.
Between them the companies will be giving #4 million to aid developing countries. However, the cash is not a simple donation, as the funds will be used to buy back services from the donors themselves.
The two companies chose last Monday, Commonwealth Day, to announce the pledge. The money will be given to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) over a three-year period from 1998 to 2001. BT will contribute #950,000 per year and Cable & Wireless #400,000.
The money will go to the CTO's programme for development and training, which has delivered 3,000 projects to developing countries within the Commonwealth since 1983, at a cost of around u20 million. These funds are used to buy training and expert assistance from businesses within the CTO partnership, including BT & Cable and Wireless.
Through this system, telecoms companies like BT and Cable & Wireless can make their expertise available to low-income countries at no cost.
The projects cover every aspect of telecoms, from technical training, sales and marketing to the introduction of new services. With the funds just announced, the CTO reckons it will be able to implement at least 400 new training and consultancy projects within the three-year period.
David Souter, executive director of the CTO, added: "These pledges demonstrate the continued commitment of Britain's leading telecommunications businesses to a partnership that aims to bring the benefits of telecomss to businesses and citizens in every corner of the Commonwealth."
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