It should come as little surprise when organizations adopt tactics from Survivor in a survival-of-the-fittest marketplace.

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) announced Tuesday will merger with the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) in hopes of providing better business opportunities to both memberships.

Barry Gander, senior advocate, public policy for CATA, says the move was prompted in part by the realization a lot of groups are merging. The Strategic Microelectronics Consortium and the Information Technology Association of Canada merged late last year, while Smart Toronto and Liberty Village linked in November.

CAIP president Jay Thomson agrees.

“”We’re seeing a consolidation in our industry and we needed to look at ways in order to continue to deal with the growing numbers of issues that are facing our industry. At the same time our association’s revenues are declining because of consolidation and so we looked at a number of options in order keep the association going and keep it operating and improving. The mix with CATA seemed to be the best one,”” Thomson says.

Gander adds they’re not following a trend just for the sake of it. He says both sides stand to benefit. The world of the Internet service provider (ISP), he reasons, can be more effectively run if it’s part of a larger group that is also intimately concerned with the Internet. Part of that commitment is CATA’s eCanada campaign. The program’s goal is to bridge the digital divide in Canada.

“”We’re bringing those specific concerns into the advanced technology fold which, of course, benefits the entire advanced technology community. The other part from a staffing point of view is that we gain access immediately to Jay Thomsons’ legal strength which is something that is new to us,”” Gander says.

Under the terms of the merger Thomson will join CATA’s board of directors, but CAIP’s will remain unchanged and intact. There are approximately 140 CAIP members and 500 CATA members. Despite joining a group with more than three times as many members, Thomson isn’t worried its agenda will be watered down.

“”It’s fully our intent, and CATA is in full agreement, that we will continue to pursue all of our issues as best we can and to the extent that we can find synergies, which we think we’ll be able to find with CATA then we’ll take advantage of them,”” Thomson says.

“”Under the circumstances — given the developments in our industry — I think this is a really good development for ISPs and I think we’ll see some really good results.””

CATA also announced Tuesday a deal with its Mexican counterpart, the National Electronics, Computer and Telecommunications Industries Chamber. The goal is to develop their respective high-tech industries through exchanges of services, joint projects, trade opportunities and human resources expertise.


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