VRN: A0026600C ARBN: 081 355 722 ABN: 74 766 293 648



Dean Hollister

2002/2003 has been a very tough year for APANA in many areas:

  1. Competition among ADSL providers became even more widespread and fierce; and

  1. Membership has continued to decline, rapidly in some Regions.

Despite these challenges, many of our Regions have demonstrated the foresight and vision to move APANA in new directions, including:

  1. Introduction of ISDN Data Over Voice (DoV) services - these are especially valuable where ADSL is not available and ISDN is available. This technology virtually eliminates the exorbitant data rates usually associated with Telstra ISDN services.

  1. Introduction of APANA's own ADSL services.

  1. Relocation of main Internet links into Regions from ISDN/POTS links to significantly faster ADSL links, resulting in substantial cost savings.

  1. Introduction of nationally available 56k dialup modem services.

This changing focus on embracing new technologies has the potential to breathe new life into our club. All Regions need to explore these new options and take advantage of them wherever possible.

At Management Committee level, we have been working tirelessly to ensure Sydney Region's long-term financial viability, and can now report a significant improvement in its financial position. Our appreciation is extended to Craig Dewick and David Fisher for their hard work and dedication.

Whilst all Regions face much tighter bottom lines, it is always pleasing to see each Region tackling challenges with concerted enthusiasm and making tough decisions.

On a closing note, I would like to thank the countless volunteers whose hard work and dedication makes APANA continue, despite the obstacles and challenges it faces. You are our largest asset and it is your devotion that will ensure APANA continues.


Jeremy Malcolm

This is my first report as APANA Secretary. The passage of Secretarial responsibility from Dean Hollister has been very smooth, thanks to Dean's immaculate record-keeping. Our membership continues to dwindle, as demonstrated in the below table:










Down 20





Down 3





Down 4


Independently Connected Members



Up 5





Down 20


Northern Wollongong



Down 36





Down 28


South Australia



Down 14





Down 3





Down 117


It was as a result of this loss of membership that a Special General Meeting was held in March this year to reduce the quorum at General Meetings from 20 to 10 (or 20% of the membership, whichever is less). This motion was passed by majority. The Rules change was accordingly lodged with the Victorian Department of Consumer Affairs on 12 May 2003 but at the time of writing it has not been formally approved.

Early in my term as Secretary I attempted to find a volunteer to act as a marketing, media or promotions officer for APANA. Such a person would endeavour to increase APANA's profile by contacting PC Users Groups, TAFEs and colleges, etc, as most members and officers agree that it is in these areas that our future membership base lies rather than amongst general Internet users. Unfortunately no volunteer was found, but I would still be grateful if anyone wishes to step forward.

Failing a reversal of our decline in membership, it is necessary for us to re-evaluate the way that APANA operates, and drastic times call for drastic measures. I consider that APANA should consider cancelling all call termination infrastructure, and become an IP carriage network only. I think our network should be based around hosted services, because we can only effectively differentiate ourselves from commercial operators in the services we host on our network.

On the other hand we cannot compete with commercial operators with our antiquated 33.6k dialup lines that fewer and fewer of our members are interested in. The days are long gone when we were a lowest-cost provider of end-user connectivity, and the expense of maintaining this infrastructure is dragging us down. Working on our dialup POPs is no longer even useful experience to prospective Internet network administrators, because the technology is no longer in use anywhere else.

It follows that I think we should completely outsource the provision of dialup access. This is beginning to happen anyway, with various regions now outsourcing dial ports or ADSL lines. I consider however that this should happen on a uniform basis, with APANA negotiating the best deal that it can for national dial-up access with a port wholesaler such as Comindico. This would increase the bandwidth available on our regional hubs and MASs for hosting services on our network. Our dial-up infrastructure could then be sold and used to fund an upgrade of our networks.

I look to discussing this proposal with the Management Committee during the coming year. We are none of us under any illusions that APANA can return to the glory days of the mid to late 1990s, but most regions have now trimmed most of the costs that they are able to, and are still losing ground. I consider that we need to make some more significant changes than those we have made so far if we are to ensure that APANA will survive and remain relevant into the future.


Carolyn Baird

As the result of extensive mail delays on mail redirected from the Doncaster PO Box during June 2003 the end of financial figures demonstrated an overall loss according to the Balance Sheet. However, closer inspection reveals that those regions whose financial situations had been precarious at the end of the last financial year had reversed their situations during the year to become amongst the most financially viable of all the regions. While those who had been considered prosperous last year had been the ones to suffer the most significant losses.

The lesson to be learned from this is that any period of inactivity with regard to a region's financial situation can have disastrous consequences. It requires close and continuous monitoring to ensure that there will be sufficient revenue in any given month to meet all the expenses for that month. In the event that the budget indicates there won't be then regions need to immediately implement cost-cutting measures to minimize their losses.

During the year 3 regions suffered significant wastage of much needed funds on phone call charges. These were all associated with their ISP connections and occurred as the result of misconfiguration of network software and/or faulty hardware. All of those regions have subsequently switched to ADSL connections but their experience should serve as a warning to all regions who still maintain dialup, DOV or ISDN connections to their respective ISPs and to all members who connect to our networks using one of those methods. Never assume that each time your computer fails to connect that the one on the other end hasn't answered. Instead assume it has and attempt to diagnose the cause of the problem before attempting any retries.

During the course of the year some changes were approved and implemented to the payment options that members can choose. As well as the existing methods of paying by mail using cheque or credit card, direct deposit to any branch of the Commonwealth Bank or by BPay, members can now elect to pay by Credit Card over the phone, by fax or by automatic deduction. In the latter option a specific authorisation is required to be completed. In addition members may choose to make regular payments by direct debit through private arrangement with their financial institution.

The minimum accounting period that can be accommodated by the database is 1 month, but by prior arrangement members can now choose to pay their access fees using any frequency that is most convenient for them provided their fees remain in advance at all times. However, the APANA Membership fee remains payable yearly in advance and payment of that fee takes priority over any other. In those regions where a regional membership fee applies that fee will take priority over any access fee. I have continued this past year to align the due dates of all fees applicable to member's accounts wherever possible without causing any significant financial burden on members where a discrepancy was detected.

Throughout the year I have continued to hassle Telstra over incorrect billing and charges and I'm happy to report that as of this moment all lines on all accounts are being correctly billed and all overcharges have been reimbursed.

Overall I believe that this has been a successful year for APANA despite the loss evident on the Profit and Loss Statement which can all be attributed to depreciation of our equipment. Delayed payments received in the first two weeks of July confirm that without the mail delays APANA would have been able to declare a small profit for the year.


Pauline Sheppard

Brisbane has had a good year, the main highlight being the change over to ECN.  We have seen our numbers grow and our finances back in the black which is very pleasing.

We have had a couple of social activities throughout the year but as usual it is mainly members of BRC and support who come to these things.  We have tried various different things but unfortunately we still can't get members past the idea that APANA is just a cheap IP.

Our equipment is old and will gradually need replacing as and when finances permit.

We have a few people on ADSL now which seems to be working well.  Our next
venture is to set up wireless connection which is already being trialed by Doug Young and Tony Messina, with success.

Brisbane's future looks bright and we have a good committee and support team who work well together.


Marc Walters

In September 2002 our System Administration team members Chris Baird and Peter Freye completed setting up and successfully tested automatic WWW browser configuration. This makes configuring WWW clients much easier for members.

This year was the 10th Anniversary from when a small group of local Internet enthusiasts, APANA/Newcastle, first organised a link to the local University to access email, and later news and local network access.

Our Annual General regional Meeting was held Sunday 20th October, 2002, at 2:00PM.

Throughout the 3rd Quarter 2002 and 1st Quater 2003 the hub location had intermittent electrical supply issues - mostly brownouts and spikes which was possibly causing many modem and PC failures and dropouts, several modems and power supplies were lost. In February 2003 the region purchased an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS), which was used to filter and protect the power supply for two of the machines and the modems. Equipment failures and dropouts noticably reduced after installation.

In December 2002 KaZaa (and AltNet) and other peer-peer file sharing services continued to cause network congestion, and the Admin's patience and skill was sorely tested in reigning in the more serious instances of excessive use. Thanks also to Carolyn for regularly evangelising the benefits of AdAware and other utilities that help identify and clear the range of SpyWare and StealthWare so predominant in recent years.

Ah, Telstra! The members of APANA Hunter region would benefit greatly by the installation of ADSL, and the hub is only 3.5 copper-kilometres from the exchange - which is not too far away. However, Telstra maintains that significant signal attenuation pushes us into a "rim" area, where the service cannot be guaranteed and they are not willing to spend technicians to find a solution. Carolyn has been on their case all year though, and we are still hopeful that one day soon the bandwidth problems associated with the incoming 56K link will be minimised.

Early 2003 saw the region dealing with a local community centre who needed assistance with their plans to make cheap ex-government PC systems available to low income families. The process is ongoing though, and still in early stages. It is this sort of cooperative venture with NPOs that shows how APANA can utilise its skills in helping like-minded community organisations.

The region currently comprises 44 APANA members - 26 dialin, 3 organisational, 1 permanent-connect, 3 uucp, 3 mail and news only, 2 ethernet-connected and 6 additional in household members. Our yearly income is $5,994 and yearly expenditure $5,431 (figures include GST) leaving a balance of $562 to cover miscellaneous regional expenses and increased charges for the next 12 months.


This month last year membership fees amounted to $974, expenditure $469 and cash balance $1066.

This year, fees were $674, expenditure $420 and cash balance $1049.

In conclusion, the most important issues currently facing the region are the need to increase membership, maintain our hardware, and provide enough bandwidth to satisfy our members' online activities.


Matthew Geier

Note having 'infrastructure' to support and thus no charges/bills to worry about makes the IC region pretty quiet.

The biggest thing was our Regional Co-ordinator resigning due to family taking somewhat understandable priority of his time, the job falling onto me as deputy.
At the same time Matt McLeod from Newcastle, a 'member from the old days' volunteered to be MC rep.

The most difficult thing to do in the region is organise a ARM to 'elect' a new RC. Unfortunatly I am not going to have any time soon to organise such a thing (mainly trying to get 4 people to volunteer for an RC). 4 Days after the AGM in Canberra I leave on a 7 week holiday.

Currently the two other members of the ICR committee are overseas, both I think are living in the UK!


Edwin Gibbons

The ACT region has continued to reduce in membership size over the last year for several reasons, some of which can be identified.

a) Increased access to high speed connectivity
As previously reported, the continued roll out of TransACT throughout the Canberra suburbs has continued at an accelerated pace. There however has been an unexpected increase in the number of ISPs and other organizations offering ADSL or SDSL to residential and businesses in Canberra. There has also emerged a few connection plans promising "unlimited" data transfer for a fixed monthly fee (for the true "hardcore" downloader) ... The (relatively) cheap access to the internet to a wider range of people, as well as the provision of (potentially) much higher speed connection have reduced the incentive of members using APANA as "just an ISP" to continue.

b) My absence overseas for six months this year for study has reduced the level of support provided and communication to members of Rosella.

c) Other reasons, much more complex and less easily reported on.

The continuing discrepancy between expenses and regional income cannot continue for much longer. The high cost of the permanent modem connection and Telstra dial-in lines cannot be sustained with the current membership base.

An examination of connectivity alternatives is a continuing high priority task. The options of working with local organisations in a symbiotic relationship needs to be considered. Other creative options need to be generated, examined and acted on in order to continue ...

The coming year presents several obvious challenges which need to be addressed, however I feel confident that the report to be penned in a year's time will detail the overcoming of the difficulties that at present stand in front of us.


Martin Bull

This year the region upgraded Tierzero from 2.2 4.3 FreeBSD 486sx to a Pentium Pro 200 with 96Mb RAM running mail, Web, proxy, primary DNS server.

Pasa upgrade failed with a similar hardware and software spec due to a freaky hardware isssue. It is FreeBSD 2.1 with 486 sx 32 600mb HDD and 32 Cylades serial ports. It is the main access server for permanent members and dialups and runs gated routing protocol.

We installed a games server called shrek. We installed a firewall called hornet (Pentium Pro 200 96Mb RAM).

We upgraded OpenBSD 2.9 to 3.3. We installed a sandpit shell server on an Alpha Digital with 32 Mb RAM and OpenBSD 2.9. Chuckie is another Pentium Pro 200 with 96 mb RAM running Linux Redhat 7.0.

Pasa2 is the Pentium Pro 200 radius server to assist in digital 56K modem authentication and accounting running open bsd 3.2.

We installed 2 UPS's that failed to work.

We currently offer the following access opportunities:

We are currently installing and configuing a 56k digital dialup connection with access server.