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Membership has remained stable throughout the year, with a fairly high retention rate. Finances have continued to improve.

Our hub equipment has been aging, and failures have prompted replacement with new and donated parts when required.

At the beginning of 2004 the region changed from Ozemail to NetCentral for provision of Internet connectivity, and it appears it was a good move. Our connection appears to be more reliable, and we received a good deal and further excellent assistance from NC when installing the broadband connection recently.

Throughout the year broadband connection has been a regular topic of discussion within the committee and recently it was decided to implement ADSL service with a local ISP. The benefits to regional members include faster serving of members' web pages to the outside world, and faster Internet access at peak usage times. We feel that this will play a major part in retaining members as well as allowing the region to offer more attractive services to potential members.

Having the hub located in the same house as two of our Admin team has allowed quick response to problems. Additionally, Cas has assisted a number of members who have required help to remove viruses and fix other problems with their machines, while Chris has been busy maintaining the software on the machines and hardening the hub to spam and malicious software. It is this type of positive member-centric and volunteer-based ethic of APANA that truly sets it apart from the ISPs.

In conclusion, the region is in an overall better position than this time last year to meet its goals of retaining and improving membership and provide an increased range of services to its members. Our hardware situation has also improved noticably. Overall, the outlook is an optimistic one for Hunter over the coming year.

Marc Walters
Regional Co-ordinator
Hunter APANA