National Capital FreeNet / Libertel de la Capitale nationale

Graeme Beckett - Candidate

First I would like to thank George Frajkor one of National Capital FreeNet's three founding members and Pat Drummond a long time dedicated FreeNet volunteer for the nomination.

What skills will you contribute to the NCF Board?

During a portion of my past three year term as Director of the National Capital FreeNet, I have served on the Executive Committee, Human Resources Committee and worked with the Finance Committee. I've also served as the President of the National Capital FreeNet. For several months In the year 2001 I performed the duties of the Executive Director while we were between personnel. During that time we made significant steps in terms of modem reliability.

In addition to serving on the NCF board, for approximately the last 5 years I've offered assistance as the NCF Help-Desk coordinator. In all, I've been a volunteer with the NCF for about 7 or 8 years now and have helped with various activities, particularly offering members with assistance and helping with our online documentation. Outside of the NCF a portion of my time is spent as a computer consultant, and in webmastering and design. I've also spent time offering Internet and web design courses.

As a volunteer who assists our members I receive a lot of feedback and ideas both good and bad that is very pertinent to the smooth running of the NCF and in the end the Board of Directors sets the focus of the Executive Director and then measures the goals to be met. It is critical to have some board members who dial up the NCF. Currently I am only one of two board members who dial up the NCF and the only candidate running for election who does so. To continue to succeed the NCF needs to provide reliable access to mail, the web and our dial-up services. We also need to look to the future to provide high speed access for those members who need to do more than email.

What do you think are the most important functions of NCF for its members?

The National Capital FreeNet provides a community based means to access the Internet and provide email. Being a non-profit the NCF can keep our costs low and our members help out other members and commmunity based groups who would be unable to afford Internet service elsewhere. During my last term we embarked on our Internet Desktop service . The conception of the Internet Desktop service began while I was on the NCF Technical Team, before I was on the board of Directors. Then and since I've endorsed Idesk as a good tool to offer more services to our members and a service unique to the NCF.

Why do you want to be an NCF director?

Over the years the NCF has moved too slowly to upgrade our technical services and our online community based services. I would like to see the National Capital FreeNet offering 56k service this year. Then we need to move forward and look to the future and offer high speed access such as DSL (offered by Sympatico and smaller ISP's) or possibly wireless access. Prices for wireless equipment are dropping rapidly and the range for wireless is increasing though wireless has hurdles such as line-of-site requirements to the tower. Our old FreePort software made community based networking easy and the NCF needs to be looking for ways to replace this with web based means to network within our community and to possibly provide an offering for the entire National Capital Region. We also need to reach out to the thousands of people in the National Capital Region who have never used a computer and may feel intimidated. Another group that is underserved by the NCF is the French speaking population in Ottawa.

Graeme Beckett