A History of Net 134 (Southern Alberta)
By: Michael A. Grant (NC 134)  Aug/2003

Net 134 has a long history, stretching back to the 1980's. It once had more than 150 members. Most of the "old timers" are long gone now.  A few still can be found in the CALGARY.GENERAL internet newsgroup,  but stories of the Net's past are pretty scarce these days, so I can  only rely on my own memory, and what few documents I have found.

Net 134 used to have a local net policy. Coordinator positions were  elected, and a recall mechanism was implemented. (The policy recognized  that per P-4.07, the RC appoints the NC, so it stated that NC election  results were "recommendations" to the RC. Besides the usual NC and NEC  positions, Net 134 also incorporated an elected LEC (local echomail  coordinator) position. This was seen as necessary because there was at  one time considerable local traffic in echos that were only distributed  within the net. There were some 31 local echos listed in the  CAL_ECHO.LST file.

Here are some names of people who have served as Net 134 Coordinators. Dates shown are not when these persons took over as NC, but rather are dates during which they are known to me to have held the position.

 Jan, 1988 -- Lloyd Miller
 Sept, 1988 -- Kathi Crockett
 Nov, 1989 -- Norbert Lange
 Dec, 1995 -- Randy Morgan
 Aug, 1997 -- Rob Savage
 Feb, 1998 -- Jason Low
 Oct, 1998 -- John Becker
 1999-2003 -- Kevin Klement
 Current NC -- Michael Grant

Long Distance Echomail delivery within Net 134 also has an interesting history. Many older nets used to have Cost Recovery Plans to pay for the high costs of
LD phone transfers or Internet access, which with the slow speeds of modems in those days could be quite expensive. These CRP's at times could be quite controversial, as participation in them was sometimes attempted to be forced upon a net's members, and accusations often flew of profiteering on the part of the CRP's administrator.

Net 134 found a unique approach to the problems of high transfer costs of  LD echomail. The sysops of this net formed a association called the Southern Alberta Sysop's Association (SASA). SASA was an incorporated body registered with the Alberta Government. Membership was voluntary, and the association operated on a basis of a refundable $25.00 deposit required for joining, plus a $5.00 a month fee for echomail. A treasurer was elected from amongst the members during it's annual meetings, who's duty it was to keep track of payments and write the cheques to pay for services and equipment needed. SASA was intended to be a non-profit organization, and all monies received were used strictly for the payment of LD charges, internet access fees, and equipment costs. Any extra monies were reserved in trust for future costs.

A central LD echomail hub was set up on auto pilot at 1:134/1, which initially provided LD echomail feeds to any SASA member in 1/2 hour per day blocks, for the $5.00 fee paid by it's members. A member's system could download all the echomail it could receive during it's alotted 1/2 hour, but if it exceeded the 1/2 hour limit, it would be billed additional fees. The 134/1 hub connected to a remote FTP site over the internet, using a DOS-based program called FNOS (previously JNOS) that automated dial ups and file transfers through the use of scripts. The FTP feed for several years was provided to Net 134 by Planet Connect, until June 1997,
when the feed was switched over to island.net, a former R17 Rhub that was located in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.

In the year 2000, island.net shut down, and Sid Lee, the treasurer of SASA and final operator of the 1:134/1 hub, decided to shut down his system as well. It was decided amongst the remaining members that SASA was to be wrapped up. The remainder of money held in trust was donated to charity. Sadly, Sid passed away just a few months after he transferred the Net 134 LD echomail hubbing duties to myself.