When the National Capital FreeNet was founded ten years ago, it was doubtful that anyone could have foreseen the profound effect that this new organization would have on our community and its owner members, nor how the resources that it offered would impact on our daily lives. Now as we celebrate our 10th anniversary we can look back over a decade where NCF has helped to introduce not only new communication technology but also a new way of communicating and interacting. Ten years ago, the phrase Internet was a term not yet in our vocabulary and the potential for rich vibrant community interaction that this technology afforded was largely unknown.
Now, looking back over these ten years, we can proudly boast of a major accomplishment. We, the member/owners of the National Capital FreeNet have introduced more than 75,000 people to Information Technology and Internet-based communication and that fact alone can be seen as a significant factor among the several reasons that Ottawa now boasts the highest number of connected citizens among all communities in Canada and indeed North America. We have had a lot to do with Ottawa being the “Most Connected City.”
Since inception, the National Capital FreeNet as an organization has faced many tough challenges and hurdles. This past year was certainly no exception. Perhaps the most difficult challenge any organization can face is what NCF experienced this year, that being a change in senior management and the potential disruption that might have arisen because of this change. I am delighted to report that this was not an issue at FreeNet and our new Chief Executive Officer; John Selwyn has proven his obvious suitability to his new role at FreeNet. He has quickly demonstrated that our confidence in him is well deserved.
John has an incredible depth of knowledge and experience resulting from diverse experiences including high-technology development, teaching and, of course, his role as founding CEO at Crosskeys, where his accomplishments are well known. Perhaps of even greater importance is John’s ability to foster and nurture a sense of teamwork among the various contributors to the organization. This talent is of tremendous importance in FreeNet’s volunteer-based culture.
Moving forward, we can be confident that John’s focus on getting modems and services running rock-solid, our soon-to-be released new services and a continuing attention to member and community needs will provide the necessary elements of a sustainable future for FreeNet. I look forward to the coming years.