National Capital FreeNet / Libertel de la Capitale nationale

Doug Hull - Candidate

Doug Hull was appointed to the NCF Board in March of 2008 and since, he has been an active member of the Board and has assisted several searches for prospective staff and Board members. Doug is President of Connectivity Partners International Inc., and Connectivity Strategies, Inc., CPI and CSI undertake consulting assignments abroad and in Canada aimed at helping countries and communities formulate and execute ICT and Connectivity Strategies aimed at accelerating a more knowledge-based economy and society and creating a more digitally inclusive community and culture.

From 2001 to 2002 Doug was Senior Director, Public Access and Learning Networks at CANARIE, Inc. in Ottawa a position that allowed him to lever considerable insights and knowledge about networking and communications in Canada gained through the seven years from 1994 to 2001 where Doug was Director General, Information Highway Applications at Industry Canada. Doug's mission in this senior executive position in Industry Canada was to place Canada at the forefront globally in the use of Internet technology, particularly in learning. This mission was achieved through a combination of strategic policy development and innovative program implementation.

Previous to that, from 1988 to 1992, Hull was Director General, Science Promotion and Academic Affairs at Industry Canada. In that position his mission was to raise the level of science awareness, academic performance and career interest on the part of Canadians, in particular school, college and university students.

Doug has considerable not-for-profit board experience and has sat on the boards of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation in Toronto, the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education also in Toronto and I-EARN Canada in Calgary.

What skills will you contribute to the National Capital FreeNet (NCF) board?

I hope to make a contribution based on my experience in developing, implementing and sustaining various connectivity related programs whose main aim was social inclusion and the use of IT in skills and community development. Having organized and participated in a number of advisory bodies and boards of directors of non-profit and volunteer organizations I understand the strategic, governance and probity responsibilities involved and look forward to helping the NCF deal with the issues and the challenges it faces.

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

Why is the NCF still needed when Internet connectivity and usage have become so pervasive? Certainly, providing low cost access remains a critical service for those individuals and organizations in our community whose limited resources make the Internet an unaffordable luxury. However, connectivity is only part of the answer.

Effective public access also requires learning outreach. Many community members need help both to develop basic computer and Internet skills and, more importantly, to leverage these skills to improve their position and to participate more fully in the community.

Another key challenge facing communities, indeed countries, is the growing predominance of corporate and competitive values on the Internet. It is vital that Freenets and other social and collaboratively-driven organizations remain vibrant players to ensure citizens have both a choice and voice in how the Internet evolves.

Why do you want to be an NCF director?

I have a passionate belief in the importance of the Internet in promoting positive and innovative economic, social and cultural development in both developed and developing countries. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to participate in creating and implementing policies and programs in both these environments. However, I think (and always have) that the real challenge, excitement and satisfaction is at the local level. I hope to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the NCF's work and growth in Ottawa/Gatineau.