31. Chebucto: 10 years of
By Mark Alberstat
A decade ago, the Internet was a vastly different place than it is today.
Most websites featured few, if any graphics. Two Stanford PhD students
founded Yahoo! Software programs such as Archie, Veronica and Jughead did
searches. An Arizona law firm, Canter & Siefel, sent out the first spam
e-mail advertising its green card lottery service. Despite a decade of
widespread change, one participant in the local Internet community that
has stayed the same is
Chebucto Community Net.
After a decade of serving the metro community as an on-ramp to the
information highway, Chebucto is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. This
year the community group's AGM is being held on April 8.
With more than 2,000 members and 10 years of history, Chebucto continues
its community-minded ways.
"We wanted everyone to have access to the Internet no matter their means,"
remembers David Trueman, Chebucto's first Chair of the Board of Directors.
"We did not want to allow the creation of any second-class citizens by
people not being able to get online. When we began, there were different
ways of connecting to the Internet but most of them were only for people
with the means to do so. We stepped in and created Chebucto for the entire
The local community can still be found on Chebucto, which hosts websites
for dozens of local organizations and companies.
"We wanted to make sure that as this new global community was emerging,
people could still find what they wanted to within the local community and
that the global community could find us, here in Nova Scotia," remembers
That initial need for community input and support is still evident in many
of Chebucto's programs, initiatives and policies.
"What the first 10 years have shown is that people want, and are prepared
to support, a low-cost, high-quality Internet service, run by people from
their own community, who are responsive to the needs of members and
directly accountable to them. As long as the need exists, Chebucto will be
around to meet it," says Marilyn MacDonald, Board Chair of Chebucto
One service most Internet users need these days is spam filtering and
Chebucto members have it as part of their annual membership dues. E-mail
filtering is just one of the many changes Chebucto has seen over the
years. Web mail, personalized e-mail addresses, 1-800 access, a range of
account levels, website hosting and other services are just some of the
features that Chebucto has developed as the Internet and users have grown
"Our tech team is always working hard to keep up with the technology and
the growing demands of our members. We also have to be on the outlook for
the next virus or cyber attack. These things were simply not issues 10
years ago," says MacDonald.
What the next 10 years hold for Chebucto is anyone's guess. With
technology changing all the time, members and future members may be sure
that Chebucto's dedicated volunteer tech team will keep up with growing
trends. With strong member support and a vision to help everyone onto the
information highway, Chebucto's role in the wired community is only going
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Originally published 28 March 2004