Many of the survivors of the Victorian bush-fires find that the Internet might contain the one and only photo of their destroyed home and/or property. Plus affected children find the Internet the only bit of normality in their troubled lives.

Two good Samaritan companies, Collins Street Business Centre and Newpath WEB decided that money was insufficient for the bushfire survivors and raced off to provide free, mobile Internet services in some of the emergency relief centres.

Take a 3 ton truck, equip it with 6-8 notebook computers, power supply, petrol driven generator and temporary wireless Internet (supplied for free by Telstra) and you have a mobile Internet cafe, ready to offer free access to survivors of the Victorian bush fires.

Despite having to overcome huge obstacles such as road access, permission and finding broadband Internet access, the first truck was up and running in the Whittlesea Relief Centre grounds by Wednesday evening. It has been operational for 12+ hours per day since then and could go on for many more days – subject to finding sufficient volunteers to assist with supervising each vehicle.

Rael Kuperholz, Director of Collins Street Business Centre said: “I have always been quick to donate money or other material things, but this time I decided to get my hands dirty and provide something that would make an instant & material difference to children’s lives. Hence I thought of Internet access, especially for children, who may want to connect with their unaffected friends and family via email or social websites such as Facebook”.

Nathan Sinnott, Chief Executive Officer of Newpath WEB went on to say: “Little did I expect that within minutes of setting up, someone who had lost everything, came to ask if we would try to find a photo of his house – as someone had mentioned that it may be possible using Google. He needed this for the insurance assessor. I found his property on Google Maps, copied the picture and emailed it to his assessor. Furthermore, it was great to see how quickly Telstra’s management and field crews got us connected to broadband Internet.”

Kuperholz: “Notwithstanding how physically and mentally tiring this whole exercise has been, every time someone leaves the truck even a tiny bit better off, we feel immensely satisfied.”

Thanks also go to Hertz Truck Rental in West Melbourne for discounting the truck rental.

Collins Street Business Centre is a provider of Serviced Offices, Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms in the centre of Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Newpath WEB is a provider of a comprehensive range of web related services such as web design and development, search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising campaigns and iPhone applications.

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