The major lobby group for Internet service providers in this country has linked up with the high-tech industry’s alliance to further the aims of both organizations. The agreement between the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP) and the CATA Alliance was announced today in Ottawa. "The deal is that CAIP is joining forces with CATA," CAIP president Jay Thomson explains to Network Letter. "It’s a strategic alliance, intended to permit CAIP to strengthen our advocacy activities, to expand our member benefits and to exploit synergies and efficiencies." He stresses that this is merely an alliance, not a merger. There will be no loss of independence for the ISP body. "CAIP will continue to operate as CAIP with our mandate, our mission, our board of directors," he says. "What we will be able to do, though, is use CATA’s offices across the country to help to expand our reach to other ISPs and to hopefully bring in some new members that way. They’ve got member benefits that will be extended to our members, which again will help both in member retention and member acquisition. We’ll be able to operate more efficiently as well because we’ll be able to take advantage of their infrastructure." CATA will benefit as well, Thomson believes, because CAIP can bring expertise in areas that the high-tech group is interested in but has not yet pursued. He cites examples like competition and the extension of broadband. Each group will continue its individual lobbying efforts to influence public policy. But Thomson says the two will be more effective on issues that affect both, having a stronger advocacy team.