In case you were not aware of the fact, Chebucto Community-Net started as a seed planted in August 1993 at the first Canadian community networking conference in Ottawa. A handful of interested Haligonians attended out of curiosity and returned with the determination to bring a new type of community to Halifax. In August, from the 19th to the 23rd the Canadian networking community gathered for Telecommunities '95. This year's conference was held in Victoria B.C.. Representatives from operating community nets as well as organizing committees met to share their experiences to date, and plan for the future. Chebucto was well represented at this years conference by three people: Joan Brown-Hicks and David Trueman, co-chairs of the MetroCAN society, and Kevin Nugent, Secretary of the MetroCAN society and member of the board of directors of Telecommunities Canada. Mr. Trueman contributed to the gathering with two presentations. One a primer on how to start a community network, based on the experiences of starting and operating CCN. The other talk directed at technical wizards demonstrated how simple it is to install Chebucto-Suite, the software developed in Halifax which runs the most modern community nets in the world. The next issue of Board Notes will contain a report on the goings on at Telecommunities '95.
June 15, 1994 marked the starting date for the first service agreement between CCN and what was then the only internet service provider in town, NSTN. That agreement will be coming to a conclusion in October, so the MetroCAN society assembled a team of directors and members at large to identify what we will seek in the next agreement we sign. This team completed a Request for Proposals (RFP) and delivered it to internet service companies which are capable of competing for our business. The environment has changed since last spring; There are now close to a dozen internet service providers in the Metropolitan Halifax area. The RFP team will study the responses and deliver a short list of possible candidates to the MetroCAN board. At that point, a committee will be struck to negotiate with the members of this short list for the purpose of getting the best deal possible for the society.
Thank you David Murdoch, and welcome Gary Floyd, our
latest board addition!
The MetroCAN board recently said goodby to one of its founding members. David Murdoch was there at the very beginning spreading the word about the Community Net to all who would listen. His contribution has been vital to the development of CCN, and the entire MetroCAN society owes David a debt of thanks.
Not many people could have hoped to fill David Murdoch's shoes on the Board but we think we have found the perfect fit in Gary Floyd. Gary has been an active volunteer with the society. His most notable accomplishment is that of bringing the community-net to Spencer House in the form of a Public Access Terminal. MetroCAN has made it a priority to reach as broad a cross section of our local community as possible and Gary has done a great job in bringing the Senior's community into the fold.
Members, Members, Members
MetroCAN passed its first year milestone, in June and so the brand new job of encouraging and processing membership renewals was added to the list of daily chores. The society has made it a policy that the cost of everyday operations of the community-net should be met through society membership. This makes membership renewals as well as new memberships vital to the maintenance and growth of the system. If you became a membership in the first year of operation of CCN, please remember that your fees make it possible for CCN to operate. If you are currently a user but not a member, and find that CCN provides you with something of real value, one of the best ways to show your support is to join the society.
Bell Backs Down
In the past few months, Bell Canada started a process of asking the CRTC to allow Local Measured Service (LMS) in business phone rates. What this would mean is that if you leased a business telephone line, you would be charged according to how many minutes you used the phone instead of being charged a flat rate for the month. This would not have had a direct impact on CCN since literally all of its phone use is imcoming to the system's modem bank. But the worry was that once the foot was in the door, the next step of the phone companies would be to consider LMS for residential calls as well. That would be the death knell for the Community Net system across the country. Our vision is that people should have access to information via networks regardless of their economic situation. LMS would create another hurdle for those people who can scarcely afford the service they now have. The good news is that Bell Canada recently backed down and told the CRTC that it is no longer planning to ask for LMS for business lines. This is likely due to a consumer backlash spearheaded by such groups as Telecommunities Canada as well as scores of individual community network groups across the country. The strength of numbers has been proven. Lets hear it for the little guy!
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