THE little-known Hong Kong Telecommunications User Group (HKTUG) is planning to widen representation in the group through a membership drive. HKTUG will target the growing numbers of smaller businesses in Hong Kong that rely on telecommunications for their operations, according to Peter Mahoney, chairman of the group. Attempts to widen the membership base has largely been prompted by increased Internet usage. The HKTUG, which operates under the executive support of the Hong Kong Management Association, has tended to be dominated in the past by the territory's large users - Hongkong Bank, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong International Terminals (HIT). Mr Mahoney, who is projects controller for the Jockey Club, said the HKTUG had in the past been viewed 'as a cozy luncheon club'. But the group sought to make itself more representative of its telecommunications constituents - companies that rely on telecommunications to run their businesses, Mr Mahoney said. The membership drive was in part prompted by invitations from the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) for the HKTUG to sit on a various committees that helped shape the industry, he said. The group would attempt to become more representative of the average user. 'Telecommunications has been changing a lot - and it was a fairly narrow field at one point - [and the HKTUG was] especially catering to those people who were tasked with looking after telecommunications for their companies,' Mr Mahoney said. 'We had tended to be focused on the large organisations and the people in those organisations that looked after telecommunications. 'We are still looking at business people - these people that need to have deeper information [about the telecommunications industry] - and it was the growth of the Internet and the Web (the Internet-based World-Wide Web service) that provided the final piece of the puzzle,' Mr Mahoney said. As a part of the new membership drive, Mr Mahoney said the HKTUG had established an Internet WWW home page. In addition, it was using an HKMA mailing list to target potential members with a newsletter that outlined the goals of the group and the information that will become available through the Web site. The HKTUG Web site, which Mr Mahoney described as still being 'very much under construction', can be found at the address http://www.hkbu.edu/ hktug. Mr Mahoney said the re-focusing of the HKTUG could also lead to greater co-operation with the Australian Telecommunications User Group (ATUG), the largest TUG in the region. With ATUG, the group hopes to provide a better system of information-sharing for users in Asia. The International Telecommunication Group (INTUG) tended to be 'Euro-centric' in its outlook, Mr Mahoney said. On the other hand, the ATUG was 'taking a lead in putting an Asian focus on INTUG', he said. The group's Web page would be China-focused, Mr Mahoney said, in line with the needs of most of its members. The new membership drive would improve the group's revenues streams through subscriptions, which would then be used to further build on the TUGs information infrastructure. Currently the group relied too much on the generosity of its members and their organisations, he said. The planned Web page, for example is being put togetherby Jockey Club consultant Tony Caratto. 'The Web page is still quite clearly under construction, but that is the principal medium through which we'll disseminate information and to attract new members,' Mr Mahoney said. He dismissed the popular view that the group was a luncheon club. But, he said the club would continue with the monthly luncheons where various speakers shared their knowledge with members. Other plans for the HKTUG will be to increase the number of activities, such as study tours of China to allow for mem-bers the opportunity to network.