Note: 807-City Freenet Incorporated operates as 807 Northwest Network
and is commonly referred to as 807Net or just 807
The Board of Directors of 807-city has decided to roll out a free wireless service for events occurring throughout the 807 area code. The service will only be made available for short-term events such as sports tournaments and community festivals. Equipment is being acquired and testing is scheduled to begin within the next few weeks. Over the next few months as the service is stablized, volunteers will be sought in the various 807 communities to operate and supervise the equipment at the various events in their own communities.
Dial-up Service Cancelled
It is with much sadness that the Board of directors decided to shutdown the 807-City dial-up service. 807-City Freenet is the oldest Internet Service Provider in Thunder Bay. With the advent of DSL and cable Internet, we were not able to maintain a large enough user base to even cover phone line costs, so the Board has decided to discontinue the service as of December 31, 2007. We will do all that we can to help the current members migrate to a new service.
Internet and Cellular In-fill Projects
807Net has been informed by FedNor staff that a "high level policy decision" has been taken not to fund 807 regardless of the merit of the project. We are saddened to hear of this decision and will determine the direction if any of 807 at the Annual Meeting in March.
Discussions with NOHFC staff suggest that funding will only be delivered for Internet and cellular project areas which have significant community support. 807Net is in the process of gathering support for project areas. Using input from our members, the carriers, businesses, organizations, and individuals, we are developing a priority list of project areas. Once we have determined priority projects, we will begin preparing applications for funding for these project areas to be brought to the NOHFC and FedNor.
Broadband and Cellular In-fill Survey
In partnership with the other Northern Ontario CBNs, 807Net applied to NOHFC to study the cellular and broadband gaps in Northern Ontario. The ICT and Cellular studies have concluded. Preferred vendors have been chosen to provide cellular services for the under serviced areas of Northern Ontario. An application for funding to provide service to the unserved portions of the region has been developed. Some vendors have proposed delivery of Internet services, in conjunction with cellular, to their portions of the region.
We anticipate that after thoughtful consideration, the various levels of government will develop programs to address the needs outlined in the two reports. Once these programs have been developed, 807 Northwest Network will again partner with the other Northern Ontario CBNs to address the task of providing ICT and Cellular services throughout Northern Ontario.
Note: As of September 2006, FedNor and NOHFC staff are reviewing the studies and preparing reports to their respective decision makers.
807-City Freenet has partnered with a number of similar organizations throughout Ontario to provide affordable technology services to not for profit organizations.
ISPEED - Data Compression Service
Because so much of the region was still without access to high speed Internet, 807Net sought out another method to help out. We licensed a technology that allowed us to increase the speed of dial-up service by up to seven times (7X). 807 purchased and setup up a high capacity server to allow provide this service.
Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain start-up support and the uptake progressed slowly based upon available effort. We were forced to relinquish our license when revenue did not match the necessary license fees for the second year.
ORION / ORANO
807Net worked diligently to ensure that the region was not left under serviced by this project. Mainly because of the efforts of 807Net, Lakehead University, Confederation College and the regional school boards have access to this network and are able to obtain significant Internet feeds at a reasonable price.
The 807 Northwest Network Project
This has been referred to as the major project of the organization. Over a six year period, broadband service to the region was conceptualized, funds applied for, and a project managed. In partnership with other CBNs in Northern Ontario, we were able to obtain funds from NOHFC to help develop this project.
FedNor provided significant funds to offset our administrative costs.
Although the full scope of the project had to be reduced based on the availability of funding, a significant portion of the 807 region received broadband services.
Basically, a network was developed that runs from Thunder Bay through Atikokan, Fort Frances, Rainy River to Kenora, from Kenora back through Dryden and Ignace to Thunder Bay and on to Nipigon, Terrace Bay and Marathon. A spur runs from outside of Dryden to Sioux Lookout. Broadband service was made available to commercial and institutional users. Although Internet to the home was not part of the project, the project did allow for local providers to obtain and resell Internet bandwidth from the network.
A number of projects were envisioned that would connect the 807 region and applications developed. Although all were well received by granting bodies, and several were approved at various stages of development, none received sufficient funding to be feasible.
Internet Service and Web Hosting
Almost from its inception 807-City Freenet Incorporated has provided Internet access to members and others. The ISP aspect of the organization continues to this day. Internet users, mainly those with a need for email and modest ability to browse the Internet, are accommodated on dial-up lines situated at Confederation College. A number of not for profit organizations have their web sites hosted on the 807Net servers.
Nordic Games Tourism
A two year project to demonstrate that the web could be a stimulus to tourism. As part of the project, the largest (at the time) web server in the world was developed. Historical and tourism information about Thunder Bay and the region was made available to the world. In the three months it served the Nordic Games, over 250,000 page views were recorded - this at a time when 10 views a week was great going.
Readers from around the world received timely information about The Games and Thunder Bay. Many visitors volunteered that the web was a factor in their decision to visit Thunder Bay.
The site proved that tourism could be influenced by the web.