Maintaining Local Ownership of NCF


WHEREAS the purpose of the National Capital FreeNet is to benefit the people of the National Capital region

BE IT RESOLVED that attention be given to preserving and enhancing the regional nature and ownership of the National Capital FreeNet.


Most of NCF's current members live within the National Capital region (western Quebec and eastern Ontario). That's because NCF's most popular service since 1992 has been its dial-up modem lines, which are most useful only to people in the local calling areas. NCF's current "online community software" is text-based, which doesn't attract many of today's web-based global internet users.

However, NCF may soon offer web-based services that are potentially attractive to anyone anywhere on the global internet. For example, NCF may soon offer web-based online community, webmail, and 'internet desktop' (desktop application servers). Anyone on the planet might like to have a webmail account at NCF, just as people from all over the planet get webmail accounts from Yahoo -- the internet makes distance irrelevant.

NCF's mission statement says that NCF is for people of the national capital region, but should that be changed? Should NCF expand it's focus to serve the global internet? Maybe NCF could become as popular as Yahoo!

On the other hand, here are some reasons to remain focused on the National Capital region:

For reasons such as these, NCF is best to preserve and enhance its unique regional focus -- a focus on the national capital region (eastern Ontario and western Quebec).

Existing members ought not be affected, no matter where they live. However, NCF ought to focus on *new* members from the local region, to maintain (and strengthen) a local feel and membership base -- and to keep sponsors, so that NCF can continue with its donation model.

Ultimately, NCF exists to serve its members, who, by its bylaws, are its owners. Thus to maintain a regional focus, NCF must maintain a regional membership base.

This motion calls for NCF to give attention to measures to retain local ownership (membership), re-affirming:

NCF mission: "The National Capital FreeNet is a free, computer-based information sharing network. It links the people and organizations of this region, provides useful information, and enables an open exchange of ideas with the world. Community involvement makes FreeNet an important and accessible meeting place, and prepares people for full participation in a rapidly changing communications environment."

Some implementation brainstorming

Policy implementation is the domain of staff, but ideas are always useful from anyone and help to supplement sometimes abstract policy discussions. Here are some ideas: