1998 IthacaNet Award for Achievement in Networking Tompkins County
Homer W. Smith

For Immediate Release
Friday, March 16, 1998

IthacaNet, Inc. announces Homer W. Smith as the recipient of its 1998 Annual Award for Achievement in Networking Tompkins County. Smith is being honored for establishing Tompkins County's first local Internet Service Provider ( Lightlink) and for playing an active role in a wide variety of civic activities associated with networking technologies.

Smith is notable for his efforts to educate his customers in technical and social elements of the Internet, issuing regular bulletins on how the net works and on current problem areas, such as "spam", the slang term for unwanted bulk commercial floods of e-mail. Smith is also a valued participant in the Tompkins County Electronic Future Committee, frequently sharing with that group late-breaking notices of advances in network technologies.

Smith's Lightlink service recently began hosting an e-mail discussion called "commons-l", on the topic of how to improve Ithaca's downtown pedestrian mall. The commons-l list routinely sees several dozen e-mail messages per day. Regular participants in the commons-l discussion range from Doug Pessefall, Director of the Ithaca Downtown Partnership, to a self-described representative of the "strange youth who hang out on the Commons". And Smith himself is no stranger to the commons-l discussion, sharing the opinions and insights gained over the course of three decades in Ithaca.

According to IthacaNet President Bill Kaupe, "Our mission is to encourage and reward the enormous effort required for effective data networking. No one in the county has worked harder than Homer to advance the cause of the Internet." IthacaNet Board Member David H. Post said, "Homer has pioneered affordable connections in the county. He continues to advocate for the public good over private profit, while maintaining a profitable business. More than service, he provides an all-too-rare example, proving that public-spiritedness is good business."

The 1998 award certificate will be offically presented to Smith at the fourth annual Networking Tompkins County Conference on Saturday, March 21 in Ithaca College's Textor Hall. The conference runs from 8:30am to 5:00pm and includes a hot buffet lunch. Other conference highlights include a presentation by Assemblyman Marty Luster; a panel moderated by former Ithaca City Common Council Member Tom Hanna on "Putting Ithaca Business on the Web"; and a discussion of "Internet Access Policies for Schools and Libraries", featuring two participants in last year's "Internet Online Summit" in Washington, DC. The conference keynote address on "The Future of Community Networking" will be delivered by Steve Cisler, former director of Apple Computer's "Library of Tomorrow" program. Further conference details and a registration form are available at http://www.ithaca.ny.us/Events/NTC98/.

Criteria for the IthacaNet Award include degree and scope of impact and prospects for long-term continuity. The award guidelines note that "Excellent ideas in networking abound. The intent of this award is to recognize the transition from good idea to reality." Last year's award was presented to the Electronic Future Committee of Tompkins County in recognition of its success in bringing together a wide variety of Tompkins County government, educational, public-service, and commercial organizations in an effective and ongoing collaboration for the advancement of County networking.