Pacific Bell Receives Approval

Education First: Technology initiative is now Ready for deployment.
Pacific Bell's Education First initiative is now ready for deployment now that the California Public Utilities Commission has addressed the company's application for rehearing and received concerns Pacific Bell had with the commission's initial approval. The initiative offers free linkages for computer communications and video conferencing--the first lane of the superhighway--to each of the nearly 7,400 public K-12 schools, public libraries and community colleges in Pacific Bell's service area. Education First was announced in February, 1994 by Pacific Telesis Group Chairman, Phil Quigley. "Most California public schools and libraries are at a technological standstill today," said Quigley. "By offering a baseline capability to access information from anywhere in the world and engage in interactive distance learning, we will be providing every school, library and community college an on-ramp to the communications superhighway."

Pacific Bell's offer of free digital service to schools and libraries for data and video applications - telecomputing and interactive telelearning - extends through the end of 1996. The company has asked the CPUC for a similar resolution of support to extend the Education First offer to some 1200 private, nonprofit K-12 schools served by Pacific.

Under the initiative, qualified customers will be provided up to four lines of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). One line will be provided for on-line data communications, or telecomputing, while up to three lines may be used for interactive telelearning using video. In addition, Education First customers will be provided one additional ISDN line if they choose to implement a hub design with a mutually agreed upon hub location.

This type of network configuration is designed to accommodate school districts and other clusters of schools interested in high speed networked access to the Internet. In addition to the one year of free digital service, Education first customers will be provided inside wiring for up to two locations at each site, as required, to support the telecomputing and interactive telelearning applications.

The first schools to be connected under the Education First Initiative will be a dozen demonstration sites. These sites (schools, libraries, and community colleges located in rural and urban areas of the state) will serve as telecomputing and interactive learning showcases. In addition, the sites will serve as application development centers for assisting teachers in the integration of information technologies into their respective curricula.

"We're offering schools and libraries valuable services they can use today while extending our commitment to connect them to emerging technology services," said Powell. "In the future, we will provide schools and libraries with access to video-on-demand and other forms of interactive multimedia as we deploy our interactive broadband network across the state."

Education First Application Packages will be sent to District and County Offices of Education Superintendents and Public K-12 school Principals of institutions within Pacific Bell's service area.