"604 Connect!" - Press Release

for immediate release April 13, 1999

200 Groups to get free Internet access

(Vancouver, BC) - - A new partnership between five local agencies and Industry Canada's VolNet program will help 200 Lower Mainland voluntary sector groups connect to the Internet over the next year.

"The Internet is rapidly changing the way we communicate and do business, but many volunteer organizations may be getting left out" said Martin Addison, Director of Information Services at the United Way, "604 Connect! will help groups who haven't managed to get connected yet. We'll be working with each group to provide equipment, connection, training and ongoing support. This will provide a sustainable foundation for them in using the Internet."

The partners are the United Way of the Lower Mainland, Volunteer Vancouver, Tradeworks Training Society, the Vancouver East Community Skills Connection and Vancouver Community Network. They are working together to provide the programs with innovative options such as refurbished computers for those agencies who are unable to contribute to the cost of new equipment.

"Non-profit and voluntary sector groups play a huge part in the social and cultural fabric of the Lower Mainland," said Addison, "this initiative strengthens the capacity of non-profit groups to better met their own goals."

VolNet (www.volnet.org), which is funding the local initiative, is a program offering Internet connectivity to 10,000 volunteer groups by March 31, 2001. It is one of the pillars of the federal government's Connecting Canadians initiative announced last year.

"604 Connect!" will be assessing organizations for eligibility over the next two months. Groups wanting to take advantage of the initiative should call 257-3806 or fax 257-3808 for a copy of the information package.

-30-

For information, contact: Martin Addison, United Way of the Lower Mainland 294-8929 Peter Royce, Project Manager, VCN Co-ordinator 606-2603 "604 Connect!" details at www.vcn.bc.ca/volnet


"604 Connect!"
Background Information
For Immediate Release
Date: April 13, 1999

200 Groups To Get Free Internet Access

(Vancouver, BC) -- The federal government's 1998 "Connecting Canadians" initiative, which is attempting to make Canadians the most connected people on earth is extending its reach to the voluntary sector through the creation of VolNet. VolNet's goal is to "expand the technological capacity of the voluntary sector." It is under this initiative that a partnership titled "604 Connect!" has been formed between five local agencies and Industry Canada to offer 200 Lower Mainland voluntary groups assistance in getting connected to the Internet over the next year.

According to the VolNet National Advisory Committee report, "Voluntary organizations and volunteerism touch the lives of all Canadians, and as the rebalancing of services between the voluntary sector and the government continues, they become all the more critical to Canada's economic and social well-being. Despite this, while some voluntary organizations have taken advantage of the benefits of the Internet, the majority have not, and still need to get connected. But this is not all. In order to make connectivity meaningful and sustainable, they also need to develop the necessary skills and knowledge about how best to integrate the Internet into their work."

"604 Connect!" will address these issues by providing a comprehensive, sustainable Internet connection package to 200 groups. All groups will be eligible for one year of free Internet access, basic skills training, computer set-up and personalized training at their site and applied skills training in web site development and other tools.

Groups without appropriate computer equipment will be eligible to purchase a new Pentium II computer with a 2 Gigabyte hard disk, 32 Meg of RAM, 15" monitor, CD-ROM, internal 56K modem and Windows 95. The $1273 cost of this system will be subsidized by Industry Canada and the manufacturer so that groups will only have to pay 40% or $515 plus taxes on the computer.

For groups unable to invest this amount of cash, "604 Connect!" will be soliciting used computers and refurbishing them to make them Internet capable and Y2K compliant. The refurbished computers will be provided to groups for 50% of the material costs of their upgrading with Industry Canada providing the other half of the cost.

"604 Connect!" is a consortium of Lower Mainland groups which include: the United Way of the Lower Mainland, Volunteer Vancouver, Tradeworks Training Society, the Vancouver East Community Skills Connection and the Vancouver Community Network.

In the first phase of the project, during April and May of 1999, "604 Connect!" will be reaching out to find 200 groups which meet the program's eligibility guidelines. 604 Connect!" representatives will attend community meetings and events to provide information and answers to questions about the program. Eligible volunteer organizations will range from amateur sports and youth clubs to minority language groups.

VolNet eligibility guidelines for groups are as follows:

The Voluntary Sector Network Support Program (www.volnet.org) was launched February 10, 1999. Its primary objective is to offer Internet connectivity to 10,000 volunteer groups by March 31, 2001. In order to meet this target, VolNet is using delivery agencies throughout the country to offer connectivity to voluntary sector groups on a local or sectoral basis.

Interested groups can contact "604 Connect!" for an information kit at 257-3806.

For more information, e-mail: 604connect@vcn.bc.ca
tel: 604.257.3806
fax: 604.257-3808

"604 Connect!" home page

Last modified January 26, 2000