Chairs' Report for the 1994 AGM

Metro Comunity Access Network Society

The preceding reports have already communicated many of the successes and challenges of the past year and the plans for the coming year.

Nevertheless, it is appropriate to take a moment and take a broader look, using this opportunity to fill in a few missing pieces and highlight some of our accomplishments and anticipate the directions of the coming year.

First, let's try to put all of this into perspective by looking at our Vision and Mission that we established last Fall:

Metro*CAN Vision

Every Nova Scotian will have free access to a Community Access Network, as part of a province-wide electronic network linked to the world-wide Internet.

Metro*CAN Mission

These statements have stood up over time rather well, which is a testament to the work of the Steering Committee which developed them. We hope that you will agree with us that the work of the Society for its first nine months has contributed significantly toward our vision and mission.

We look back on the past year with considerable pride, as it represents a string of successes with relatively few shortcomings and disappointments. Following is a brief incomplete chronology:

September, 1993
formation of The Steering Committee
October, 1993
approval of the prototype project; this marked the beginning of a pattern -- early action paralleling careful planning
November, 1993
first joint meeting with Cape Breton FreeNet; the prototype comes online
January, 1994
Iotek loans us a SPARC 2 system
February, 1994
Metro*CAN forms; publishing of our business plan
May, 1994
agreement with Halifax and Access Cable formalized; $10,000 in support and $40,000 to connect Public Access Terminals
June, 1994
contract with NSTN signed representing a substantial discount from full Internet connection rates
June 15, 1994
CFN opens for public access (200 users, 4 phone lines)
July 27, 1994
launch of our cable TV-connected Public Access Terminal with Premier Savage in attendance
August, 1994
founding meeting of Telecommunities Canada and election of Kevin Nugent to the seven member Board; Sun Microsystems loans us two SPARCsystem 10s
September, 1994
first user training sessions at Halifax City Library
October, 1994
interim government funding of $50,000 is approved under the Canada Nova Scotia Technology Agreement
November, 1994
founding meeting of the Nova Scotia Federation of Community Networks
December, 1994
our first Annual General Meeting (3400 users, 24 phone lines, 1200 members)
These events have enabled us to gradually grow and establish a strong and positive public image. To date, we have had the luxury of linear growth -- we hope that this will continue.

While all of our committees have worked very hard, we would like to highlight the work of two of those committees which have been particularly effective. These are the Support and Training Committee which has produced extensive on-line help documents and trained individual users and Information Providers, and the Information Providers Committee which has done the leg work to bring ever more interesting and important community-based IPs on-line.

And, the Board of Directors itself has been a great bunch of people to work with, each member bringing their own strengths and energies to the job. With meetings virtually every week on top of never-ending electronic communications and committee meetings, appointments and demonstrations, they have truly worked hard to further the aims of this society.

It is clear to us that our continued success rests with a dedicated, energetic and well-organized corps of volunteers. We also recognize that we have done an inadequate job over the past year at recruiting, training and integrating new volunteers into the operations. To remedy this situation, we are now seeking a person to fill the position of Volunteer Coordinator. The duties of this person are available separately.

We hope that someone at this meeting will be interested in this position and will let us know. We view this position as crucial to our continued health as an organization.

We see the provision of free access to individuals who do not have computer equipment at home as an important part of our mission. In the coming year, we will place a high priority on the deployment and support of additional Public Access Terminals throughout the Metro area.

We look forward to an increasing number of Nova Scotia community networks and will work within the framework of NSFCN to help bring that about. We will also work with Telecommunities Canada to further the goals of the community network movement on a national basis.