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>
> On Sun, 2 Jul 1995, Brent Wall wrote:
>
> > Re:  again the demise of the Tallahassee Free-Net.
> >
> > I think that the bottom line is that we have to convince the users and
> > payers of electonic systems that this form of commerce saves money and
> > time.  And, given this "sales pitch", we have, for a number of sound
> > techonological reasons, have not delivered.  If we are to save free or
> > community nets in our jurisdictions, we, as commuunity nets, have to
> > deliver the goods that prove that we save money and time.
 
Brent, you are right about this, I think. Tally-FN has done a great job of getting up and out for your citizens. It is crucial that you build efficiencies
for stakeholders to provide core support.
 
I would not begin to tell you how to do your business, and every situation is
different. I will share with you what we're doing in Charlotte, just on the
off-chance it might help you in some small way.
 
Government.
        1. Try to make stakeholders of public officials. One county
commissioner has e-mail with us; others may soon. County gov't officials,
from the manager on down, will get e-mail if they want it. And we'll set up
PPP (well, cslip) if they want it. The county manager is on our board of
advisors.
        2. We are pushing both city and ocunty gov't to create online forms
so people can apply for jobs and streetlights online -- and whatever else
they think might help streamline processes and give people broader access
to govt services.
        3. We're placing three terminals in the city-county govt center whcih
will be hooked to their ethernet and come to us over the net. We could have done
this with DOS machines and/or our 286 router solution, but they were willing
to do ethernet at their cost AND build the cabinets to house the stuff.
 
Nonprofits.
        1. We're pushing interagency communication; e-mail, mailing lists, etc.
        2. Forms. We're pushing efficiencies in sharing such things as
intake forms (for homeless service agencies).
 
Public Access.
        1. We're pushing Mini-Hub networks in public housing, park & recreation
sites, senior centers -- you name it -- and providing training and support to
back them up. In many cases, with these we are using existing equipment -- DOS
machines -- hooked to one of our Mini-Hub routers with a 28.8 modem and a
dialup slip connection to us. We have 3 networks in place now and go-ahead for
10-15 more right now. Once people get phone lines installed, we do the rest.
 
Now, our grant is covering the networking cost. With DOS computers, though, many
sites could scrape up the money if they had to: ethernet cards, a little
cabling and BNC connectors; a modem, 286 router and phone line are all that's
required.
 
My overall point is this, I guess: we are doing everything we can as we get ready
to open to the public officially at the end of August, to build in stakeholders alone the way. We want people invested from the beginning.
 
Commerce/fund-raising.
        1. Right now, we're discouraging buying and selling on Charlotte's Web
because we haven't figured out a way to do that fairly, that is that doesn't
cut into local ISPs. We may not house anything on our system but instead could
have people pay for links to their pages elsewhere.
        2. Like everyone else, we're looking at phone line sponsorship and
vanity ID sponsorship.
        3. We're also making presentations throughout the area to companies,
seeking *multi-year* commitments.
        4. We're working wiht a local movie reviewer to sponsor a movie preview
here. We would have a fund-raiser and give away tickets to the preview as a
bonus for contributing and also turn the whole thing into a giant party.
 
We are offering a lot eventually but are starting *small* -- delivering the easy forms, the non-secure transactions and stuff like that to prove the concept
and begin quickly developing relationships. Will it all work in the long run?
Who knows, right?
 
These are the highlights right now. Most likely you have already done all
of these things and more, but just in case...
 
Let me know if there's anything else I can do to clarify this or anything else.
 
Steve Snow
Project Director
Charlotte's Web
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