Internet training offered
Deals on computers, free Internet access and training

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 19/00) - Volunteer groups looking to get online have only a few weeks to take advantage of a federal program aimed at increasing Internet access.

Under the VolNet program, Industry Canada will pay half the price of a computer and the full cost of providing basic and advanced Internet training.

So far, 30 agencies have successfully applied for the program, though they have yet to take delivery of their computers. Storefront for Voluntary Agencies is the delivery agent for the program in the NWT.

"We made the proposal to Industry Canada, did a needs assessment and implement it," said Brad Pellerin, Volnet project manager.

The deadline for applications from agencies wanting to get online through the program was recently extended to June 15.

Under the program, successful applicants pay $586.44 toward the computer and get free Internet training and a free year of Internet service. The 366 megahertz systems come with 56k fax modem and everything else you need to use the Internet.

Storefront's needs assessment indicated 225 volunteer agencies in the NWT qualify for the program, Pellerin said, but only 50-60 have applied.

The Yellowknife North of 60 Block Parent Program is among those who will be getting a computer through the program.

Chair Rosalie Power said she's been using her own computer and Internet time and saw the VolNet program as an excellent opportunity.

"I was going to get my own computer upgraded. It's pretty slow, it's five years old. Then all of a sudden I got this VolNet information in the mail. So I thought I would apply and see what happens and sure enough we were accepted."

To qualify for the program a volunteer agency must meet the following six requirements:

- be incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation under the NWT Societies Act

- have a voluntary board of directors

- operate democratically

- have annual revenues of less than $500,000

- not connected to the Internet in the last six months

- be planning to use the Internet in the agency's work in the near future

For applications and more information about the VolNet program, call Pellerin at Storefront or drop in to the agency's new home in the Centre Square Mall.