Internet kiosks reach rural, urban areas

A new partnership will distribute 3,500 kiosks offering Internet access and government information to areas that typically do not have access to technology.

Vice President Al Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government and Urban Cool Network Inc. will provide the interactive kiosks that will include access to government services such as passport applications, copies of birth certificates, drivers' license change-of-address forms, child support and tax forms.

They also will list government information, locations of post offices and military recruitment centers, and offer a calculator for mortgage payments of Social Security benefits.

The kiosks, using a high-speed broadband connection, will connect to Urban Cool Network's World Wide Web portal (www.urbancool.com), where users can link to various information and check their e-mail.

The hope is to close the digital divide that exists between those who have access to technology and those who do not, said Tony Winston, Urban Cool Network's chief technology officer. "We want to deliver Internet technology to an underserved population," he said.

The kiosks, sponsored by Urban Cool Network, will be established during the next 18 months in libraries, government locations, community centers and other areas.

Urban Cool Nework is a technology and Internet media company that aims to bring Internet access to urban consumers and businesses. National Partnership for Reinventing Government works with federal agencies and private partners to reach its goal, to "restore trust in government."

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