Thank you all for the warm welcome and for stopping me on the street to tell me what LCCN means to you. I’ve heard stories of children FaceTiming with grandparents, villas attracting new guests, and entrepreneurs being able to consult, design, and upload using the LCCN network, and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who’s supported us and allowed us to get to the point we’re at today.
In the last few months, with the generous support of the community, our team has been hard at work making enhancements to improve both the network’s resilience and reliability. We’re proud of all we’ve done, yet we have a great deal of work ahead to upgrade the network. To this end, I’m very excited to announce that LCCN will be working with one of the country’s preeminent network engineers who specializes in wireless networks thanks to a generous donation from The Secunda Family Foundation. This promises to be a huge step forward for our network.
At the same time, we have bad news to report. As you may be aware, LCCN was dealt a setback earlier this month when the DLCA ruled not to grant our fee-for-service plan. Thanks to the pro-bono services of a former St. John resident who is an expert in corporate filings, we’ve begun amending our federal nonprofit paperwork to meet DLCA requirements.
Sadly, we were dealt another blow last week when I learned that a commitment to help fund our ongoing expenses until the end of hurricane season fell through. This has put LCCN in the precarious position of having to perform minute-by-minute accounting in order to pay our hard working field technicians and keep the network running, while many other staff members including myself volunteered to forego their pay. To ensure our survival and sustainability, we will be scaling back our efforts in several areas so we can be best positioned to continue our mission.
Effective Sept. 1, barring new funding developments, we will be taking the following steps to cut our monthly budget and build a more sustainable path:
Core staff will no longer be paid and will balance their new livelihoods with as many volunteer hours as they can comfortably commit.
Tech support will be reduced. Please continue to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org but be patient with our volunteers.
There will be no new installations in Viya-restored areas. Coral Bay and points east of Gifft Hill will be connected by our part-time installation staff who remain employed as funds allow and demand in this area continues.
Effective Oct. 1:
Home and business connections will be transitioned to standby mode and speeds will be reduced, suitable for basic connectivity. No more streaming.
Our $8,000 monthly Viya bill and $1,000 in rent and utilities will be crowd-funded.
Any additional monies will be focused on free public hotspots ready for emergency deployment.
While we have some steep hills to climb, as most of us do, I believe in my heart that the future can be bright for LCCN. We are actively participating in St. John’s unique public-private partnership to support recovery and plan for future disaster response. LCCN started as a small group of scrappy island IT professionals and while that remains the soul of our organization, we are stepping into a new chapter as a streamlined, professional nonprofit technology startup with a mission to serve the people of St. John and beyond.
During a time when we are all being asked to give generously, I have to remind our customers and supporters that the internet we provide is not free. That’s why I’m urging each user of our network to consider making a tax deductible donation today. If you are a villa manager, please share this message with the property owners who have benefited greatly from connectivity for their guests. If your business has benefited from connection or will from backup service post-disaster, please give today. If you use the network to keep up with family members or your favorite sitcom, LCCN needs your financial support. Even if you’re unable to contribute at this time, you can help by sharing our project with your personal and professional networks. You never know who might share an interest in our project and become as passionate about this island’s recovery as each and every one of us is.
We at LCCN thank you for your ongoing support and the honor of service as your disaster-resilient internet service provider.