BC Communications (San Antonio, TX), through its Pacific Bell subsidiary, has signed a five-year agreement with Los Angeles County to establish a groundbreaking high-speed telecommunications infrastructure that will eventually allow an all-online system linking county facilities and let residents access county services via the Internet.
"How governments communicate with their employees, constituents, and customers-using voice, data, and the Internet-is one of the most innovative and dynamic aspects of telecommunications today," says Lora Watts, president of Pacific Bell (Los Angeles). "This partnership will be ground zero for compelling 21st century communications applications."
When fully functional, the Los Angeles County "electronic government" will let employees gain secure Internet access to their office local area networks (LANs) while working at home and streamline telecom system procurement and management. These bonuses and others, Pacific Bell says, will result in millions of dollars in taxpayers' savings.
Initially, the project will use a secure Asynchronous Transfer Mode architecture to provide the backbone that will link 63 county facilities, while a suite of Web-based systems will, with the assistance of Pacific Bell, help the county manage its own telecom services that involve 70,000 telephone lines.
Since LA County is one of SBC/Pacific Bell's biggest customers, basic framework for the high-speed, fiber-optic network is already in place-180,000 miles of installed cable, 140 Synchronous Optical Network rings, and 70 central offices. To reach all government facilities, however, additional fiber will be installed in territories currently served by GTE, whose service to county agencies under the new agreement will be turned over to SBC/Pacific Bell. In addition to laying more cable, Pacific Bell will provide local telephone, toll, and Internet services for all county government facilities.
When completed, the "electronic government" network "will enable employees to better interact with each other and with our constituents in ways that will expand information sharing and county services," says Los Angeles County's chief information officer, Jon Fullinwider.