Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications

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  • First AGM Report, 25 April 1999

    Our first AGM had a peculiar distinction; we believe it is only the second AGM of a UK non-profit organisation to be Webcast, the first being that of the Teleworkers' Association. We decided to set up the Webcast because we have a tremendously wide geographical spread of members, including a number in rural Wales and Scotland. A single PC with an ADSL connection, its owner being one of those taking part in the BT ISN trial, provided the video and audio streaming.

    As well as twenty members there in person in West Ealing on a Sunday night, including one who had come all the way from Somerset and another from Sevenoaks, there were (we estimate from the logs) thirty or forty watching round the country: this is a very high proportion of interest given that, at the time of the AGM, we had 120 members.

    More than anything else, the meeting was good fun; everyone said this at the time and afterwards, and the only 'problem' was over-enthusiasm as the committee members and some in the audience kept trying to grab the microphone from each other ...

    The upshot of everyone pitching in was that things went on for about twice as long as we expected - in fact, so long that the tape in the digital video camera ran out.

    Nick was elected as Chair of the meeting, and we went straight into speeches from each of the four officers. These were long and impassioned: not that anyone minded, as each one was effective in its very different way. I think every speech hammered home the point that members must participate and, given that our mailing list rushed to keyboards after the AGM and sent notice of the European Telecommunications Boycott to the four corners of the Earth, the point got through.

    After the speeches and presentation of accounts by Iain, those being passed unanimously, we had the election of committee members. The four original committee members were each standing unopposed for a second term of office and were each returned unanimously:

    Moderator (Alastair Scott)
    Press Officer (Erol Ziya)
    Secretary (Richard Sliwa)
    Treasurer (Iain Begg)

    In case you're wondering, Technical Officer (Nick Mailer) is a non-elected post; people willing to maintain servers and set up scripts on demand don't usually come cheap, never mind free.

    After questions and answers, which took up about a third of the meeting and gave us some very valuable hints on what to do, in particular, to make the site less intimidating, it was all hands to the cakes, biscuits, coffee, Pringles and chat!

    As ever, the real value of the event was that names and faces could be put together. We've found before that, despite the Internet being a marvellous communications tool, getting people together really makes a campaign tick.

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