Community network meeting
set for Nov. 14 at public library
11-6-00 CONTACT: Wally Bowen, 828-255-0182
A community meeting to introduce the Mountain Area Information
Network (MAIN) in Henderson County is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at
the Henderson County Public Library.
As a not-for-profit community network, MAIN provides a wide array
of community and economic development services, including low-cost
Internet access for citizens and free Internet access at more than 60 WNC
libraries and community centers. MAIN began offering dial-up 56k Internet
access in Henderson County in October. More than 3,800 citizens of WNC
use MAIN as their Internet service provider.
MAIN also provides free web-hosting for all local not-for-profit
agencies and organizations.
"MAIN is very similar to the rural electric and telephone
cooperatives of the 1920s and 30s," said Wally Bowen, executive director
of MAIN. "By keeping our fees low, we can provide Internet access to
rural citizens who otherwise could not afford access. And our free
service at public libraries and community centers gives access to citizens
who cannot afford their own computer," he said.
One of MAIN's most important roles, Bowen said, is providing free
websites to local non-profit agencies and organizations. "This local
content is the lifeblood of our community network. That's why we work so
hard to recruit, train and match volunteers with local non-profits to
assist them in creating their own website," he said.
Representatives of local non-profits as well as potential web-page
volunteers are especially encouraged to attend the Nov. 14 meeting.
Approximately one out of 10 MAIN subscribers becomes a
community network volunteer. "We could not provide the technical support
to our subscribers -- as well as the free websites for non-profits --
without the great work of our volunteers. It's inspiring to see how much
they enjoy helping their neighbors or their favorite non-profit solve
problems and communicate on-line," Bowen said.
MAIN was recently featured at the Rural Telecommunications
Congress 2000 in Aspen, CO and at the Networks for People national
conference in Washington, DC. MAIN was also cited for its innovative use
of telecommunications to bring communities closer together in the annual
Innovation Awards competition of the National Association of Development
MAIN is also bringing economic development efforts to Henderson
County such as the Blue Ridge Web Market, which allows local small
businesses to market goods and services online. "The Blue Ridge Web
Market is an old-fashioned public market. The only difference is that it
exists entirely on the World Wide Web," Bowen said. Details on how
Henderson County businesses can participate will be presented Nov. 14.
In addition to Henderson, MAIN serves the counties of Mitchell,
McDowell, Yancey, Madison, Buncombe, Polk, Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Macon,
Graham, Clay, Cherokee and Qualla Boundary.
For more information, call 828-255-0182 or visit MAIN's website at
. Application forms for Internet access are available at
the Henderson County Library and its branches, Blue Ridge Community
College, the Opportunity House, the Sammy Williams Community Center, and
the Hendersonville Community Co-Op.