Naples Free Net Announces Membership Account Changes

Naples Free-Net President William R. Coakley today announced upcoming changes to the organization’s Basic and Custom ID membership accounts, designed to improve the organization’s ability to provide dependable, free and low-cost Internet services to area residents.

The future account changes, which should be in place by the end of the year, emerged from a long-range planning session the Naples Free Net (NFN) held in January. The board of directors unanimously approved two new types of membership accounts:

“Premium Account” – This will replace the current “Custom ID Account,” and will be issued to anyone who contributes $60 a year or more. This fee is up $10 and is the first increase since the Free-Net’s founding in 1995. Existing Custom ID Accounts will automatically convert to the Premium Account on the effective date of this program change. Normal renewal dates will remain. In addition to a custom ID, the “Premium Account” has new, added features. Premium Account holders will receive a 20 percent discount on all other NFN services, merchandise and education programs. They also will have Webmail, Spam Filtering and Email forwarding, as well as additional features including multiple email accounts per household and a new photo album capability. This account will require annual renewal.

“Standard Account” – This will be similar to the current “Basic Account,” and will be issued to anyone who contributes less than $60 a year. Just as with the Basic Account, a donation is optional for those who cannot afford it. This type of account entitles members to full access to the Internet, email and web pages via local dial up without the premium features. Unlike the current “Basic Account,” the new “Standard Account” will be not be deleted if unused for three months. However, a six-month renewal is required regardless of usage.

The account changes are being made to make the Premium Account more attractive and worthy of a $10 increase, Coakley said. The paid account is the nonprofit organization’s primary source of funding, Coakley added. The Naples Free Net is housed within International College’s North Naples Campus. International College donates the space to NFN, which allows the organization to provide free service.

“The reason for the switch is to invest in new techniques and equipment to stabilize our services and to provide a modest operating margin to help finance growth,” Coakley said. “This will enable the Free-Net to fulfill its mission in helping those who are not well served now.”

There are plans for Naples Free Net to provide Internet connection in Immokalee later this year. There are also plans to connect Everglade City in the future. Volunteers will put in more hours to make the additional services possible. More volunteers also will be recruited, Coakley said. There are currently 80 volunteers who give of their time at the Naples Free Net.

Volunteer Bill Mayer said he is looking forward to the changes with great enthusiasm.

“There’s no question volunteers will have to put in extra time during the reorganization. There will be extra effort on everyone’s part,” said Mayer, also chair of the implementation committee. “It’s worth it, because there is such a need.”

Formed in 1995 to provide an “Electronically Connected Community,” the Naples Free Net Inc. (NFN), achieved 501 (c) (3) status and has grown to over 8,000 registered members to date. Housed within International College, NFN is operated entirely by volunteers and funded solely by the contributions of its members and a few generous partners.

NFN members receive local telephone dial-up access to the Internet for email and web services. Public Internet education courses are offered. Over 70 nonprofit organizations have placed their web pages with the Naples Free Net, which also provides a directory of 600 nonprofits in the local area. Log on to NFN’s home page: for more information.
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