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New Internet Services at Public Access Sites Across British Columbia To Level the Playing Field

Victoria (B.C.) -- May 11, 1998 -- Electronic mail, personal web pages, Usenet News and local discussion groups are just a few of the new services soon to be available to British Columbians at public access Internet sites across the province. In addition, all non-profit organizations working with local community access sites will soon be able to establish themselves on the World Wide Web. These services were announced today by the British Columbia Community Networks Association (BCCNA), which expects them to be available by late June this year.

The services complement those already offered by community networks, Industry Canada's Community Access Program (CAP) sites, and public libraries, and they have been endorsed by the British Columbia Internet Association, which represents many of B.C.'s commercial Internet service providers.

"Initiatives like this one are helping the federal government reach its goal of making Canada the most connected nation in the world by the year 2000," said John Manley, Minister of Industry. "These additional services will further support the Community Access Program, giving Canadians in B.C. better access to today's Knowledge-Based Economy. Their communities will benefit through economic and social development as they become connected to the rest of the world through the Information Highway."

"Through our Electronic Highway Accord, 97 per cent of British Columbians have free access to the Internet through their local library, although levels of service have varied from community to community," said Andrew Petter, B.C.'s Technology Minister. "B.C.'s positive vision and excellent infrastructure attract high-tech companies like Hewlett-Packard and now we benefit by their contribution to this partnership, which will provide even better access to the Information Highway for our citizens."

"The BCCNA compliments Hewlett-Packard Canada's contribution of a server, representing an investment of nearly $28,000; the British Columbia Information, Science and Technology Agency which has contributed $50,000; and Industry Canada's Community Access Program which has invested nearly $34,000," said Gareth Shearman, President, BCCNA.

"Our contribution demonstrates HP's commitment to help build the electronic world which is changing the way we learn, do business, access and distribute information, make purchases and communicate with each other," said Paul Hooper, Enterprise Accounts Manager, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. "And we're delighted to do our part to bring the electronic world to the communities of B.C." HP Canada also recently donated four networkable multimedia personal computers, a laser printer and a scanner together valued at $16,000 to the Terrace Public Library in B.C.

"This helps to level the Internet playing field in British Columbia," said Harry Adam, Manager of Lumby: The Virtual Village public access site. "Now all communities that can access the Net through public terminals, including smaller rural communities such as ours, will be able to take advantage of a range of options that have typically been available in only larger towns and cities."

The new services will use the bilingual Chebucto Suite (Csuite) community network software developed jointly by the Chebucto Community Network and the Computer Science Department of Dalhousie University, with funding from Industry Canada.

Through CAP, the federal government aims to connect up to 10,000 remote, rural and urban communities by the year 2000. The program is a key component of the Canadian Strategy for the Information Highway, which helps create jobs, growth and other benefits associated with the development of information technology. Through CAP the Government of Canada is also helping rural Canadians take advantage of emerging opportunities in the global economy.

The BCCNA project is consistent with the British Columbia Government's Electronic Highway Accord objective of making the Information Highway available to all B.C. residents, regardless of where they live or their income level.

For more information, please contact:
Gareth Shearman, BCCNA, (250) 479-2851
Angela Hislop, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd., (905) 206-3493
Sue Thomas, B.C. Information, Science and Technology Agency, (250) 387-4470
Rose Sirois, Industry Canada, (250) 812-0073

Disponible en francais - Angela Hislop (905) 206-3493.