NCF President's 2010 Message
To: the members of the National Capital FreeNet
On behalf of the board of directors, it is my pleasure to report on the activities of the National Capital FreeNet. Before I begin however, I want to thank all the people who volunteer their time to keep the organization running smoothly and to acknowledge and thank the dedicated FreeNet staff. It is though their combined effort that we continue to succeed -- having a “real person” who cares, on the phone, at the desk or responding in email when members and prospective members call, write or visit is our single largest success factor in my view and what sets us apart when NCF is compared to commercial Internet providers.
This notion of “members helping members” is more than a slogan, it’s a reality and a must and the front line group and their friendly and helpful attitude is what our members see.
Our principal accomplishment, and an accomplishment from which I personally take the greatest joy, is that the National Capital FreeNet, now in our twentieth year (incorporated in 1992), continues to thrive and maintain its relevance in our community. Our roots are deep and the continuing participation by thousands of people speaks to our future and our sustainability.
Clearly, we’re not the fragile organization that we were in the early days and we’ve grown steadily to a size that commands attention, not just through the number of members, but also though our financial size. The Financial Statements show that revenue in 2010, made up of donations and charges increased by more than 10% in 2010. Perhaps more importantly, 2010 was the second consecutive year that our revenue was over a million dollars.
Throughout 2010 NCF continued to offer affordable Internet access to members. Some of these use our high-speed DSL service and surprisingly, many members continue to enjoy our reliable dial-up modems. Beyond access, NCF members could also enjoy our stable email system. A FreeNet email account is personal to the member and not tied to an employer or a US-based company offering anonymous and often doubtful messaging. NCF also operates a convenient web-hosting service that can be used by anyone in the community to host their web pages and many members and organizations make use of these services and the help that is offered by other members and volunteers.
Certainly 2010 had its challenges with the introduction of HST, the threat of Usage Based Billing (UBB) looming, and changeover in some of our key help-desk staff but the fact that our membership continues to be stable and the number of DSL subscribers continues to increase suggests that the organization is on firm footing. Reports from our Executive Director Rowland Few from Alan McRae, our Treasurer have provided additional details about both our financial and operational issues.
We continue to accomplish our mission in linking the people and organizations of this region, preparing people for full participation in this rapidly changing communications environment and generally helping people access and use technology who otherwise might not have the opportunity or know-how.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the staff, the many volunteers and the thousands of people in Ottawa who make up the National Capital FreeNet Community, I want to say thank you for your continuing commitment, your generous contributions and most of all, your ongoing participation in this great organization.