American Indian tribes to get telecom services

The General Services Administration last month began offering FTS 2000 telecommunications services to American Indian tribal councils and organizations and announced its first agreement with a council to provide voice and data services via the governmentwide network.

GSA administrator Dave Barram said the deal will provide services at low cost and high quality to the Quileute Tribe of La Push Wash. "It will bring Internet access to them which will open up a whole range of educational opportunities for members of the tribal organizations especially the children."

Ada Deer assistant secretary for Indian affairs at the Interior Department and a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin said she hopes other tribal organizations will subscribe to FTS 2000 services to facilitate communication among tribes. "Because of the remote location of many reservations I can't emphasize too strongly how this agreement will benefit tribes that choose to use this service " Deer said.

Bob Woods commissioner of GSA's Federal Telecommunications Service said the agreement sprang from discussions held at last year's AT&T FTS 2000 Users' Forum. Although GSA officials had talked for years about bringing American Indian organizations onto the network they began "a concerted effort" to reach an agreement in 1996 Woods said.

A Bureau of Indian Affairs spokesman said the Quileute Tribe will use the network in schools law enforcement offices and at a fishery.

Other tribes interested in FTS 2000 services should contact GSA at (703) 760-7568.

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