GIAC



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GREENBELT.COM
GREENBELT INTERNET ACCESS COOPERATIVE
P.O. BOX 296      GREENBELT, MD 20768


Frequently Asked Questions
(DRAFT)

Administrative Procedures

Q.
Is it the intent of GIAC to be billed for all member accounts at the same time each month? Or, will the ISP need to bill each individual account?

A.
The ISP should not have to bill GIAC at all. The GIAC Membership Committee (System Administrator, Secretary & Treasurer) takes care of all financial administration. The ISP should never interact with GIAC Members with regard to money. Here is how we do it now:

To activate a new Member account or service. we must have in hand two months' service fees. Thereafter, Member payments for a given service month are due on the first of the previous month (we provide payment coupon booklets), allowing a full month for vacations, oversights, glitches, etc. On or about the 20th of the month, any accounts with insufficient balance to cover the next service month are so advised by e-mail. On the first business day of the new service month (Drop Dead Day), we check the PO Box one last time for incoming payments, suspend any account(s) with an insufficient balance and so advise the Member(s) by postal mail.

At this point, we close the books for the previous month and send one check to the ISP (no later than the 5th of the month) to cover all active Member accounts and services for the new service month. Any late payment that straggles in will trigger a service reactivation and a subsequent adjustment to the next monthly ISP payment (to cover the reactivated account). We allow one "courtesy" reactivation at no charge; after that, a penalty fee must be paid in addition to the service fees owed.

Similarly, we do as much of the security administration as possible, assigning initial account passwords, requesting service activations from the ISP via e-mail, and notifying the new Member by postal mail. Thereafter, Members may change their password(s) at will (within the ISP's security policy and exclusive of suspended accounts) via direct communication with the ISP.

We also make every effort to get new accounts connected, often going to Members' homes and offices to help out. If we encounter a problem that is over our heads, we may need advice from ISP Tech Support. (However, we do not take responsibility for Member computers that are so misconfigured that achieving an ISP connection would involve hours of non-Internet support - in such cases, we tell it like it is and refer the Member to our directory of computer consultants.) Normally, Members should only have to call ISP Tech Support to report a service outages or to seek help beyond the capabilities of GIAC support.

The procedures described above have been worked out by trial and error over a period of three years and seem to work well with our volunteer work force and shoestring budget. By relieving the ISP of most administrative responsibilities, we have been able to offer our Members low service rates.

To our knowledge, our ISPs have never bothered to do their own bookkeeping. To make it easier for everyone, the System Administrator maintains a confidential online Membership Roster, containing most account details, for reference by GIAC principals and ISP personnel.

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greenbelt.com/giac/rfp/faq.htm     Updated 3-3-99