MCI WorldCom Will Build Va.'s Covanet

MCI WorldCom Will Build Va.'s Covanet

By Nick Wakeman, Staff Writer

MAY 12 - MCI WorldCom Inc. of Clinton, Miss., has won a contract with the state of Virginia to build Covanet, an integrated telecommunications network that state officials said will save Virginia $40 million over the next five years.

The network consolidates five separate networks into a single one.

"Covanet will provide the Virginia state government with the most advanced state telecommunications
network in the nation," said Don Upson, Virginia secretary of technology.

The new network will provide the infrastructure the state needs to put all government services online a
nd conduct the majority of the state's internal business online as well, Upson said.

"This new network provides the infrastructure needed to bring these services to the citizens rapidly, cost effectively and, most importantly, wherever they live in Virginia," he said.

Among the features MCI WorldCom will put in the network is "click and connect," which will allow citizens to reach a live person via an agency's Web site. Agencies will get flat-rate pricing for all services. The speed of the network will be 622 megabits vs. 45 megabits of the current networks.

"Covanet will dramatically increase the quality of network services for state agencies while signifi
cantly reducing the cost," said Joy Hughes, vice president of information technology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Hughes also serves on Virginia's Council on Technology Services.

"The real value is that this contract will drive high bandwidth, low cost Internet services throughout Virginia, particularly in the rural areas," she said.

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