Pa. borough to pilot Unisys portal

Unisys Corp. has chosen West Chester, Pa., for a community Internet portal

pilot project that aims to bring citizens, business and government together

on one site.

Unisys, based in nearby Blue Bell, Pa., will spend about $30 million to

set up the World Wide Web portal for West Chester and the surrounding townships

East Bradford, East and West Goshen, Thornbury, Westtown and West Whiteland.

"The idea is that if they go to www.westchester.locallife.com, they can

enter the borough of West Chester as a whole, accessing the government and

business community," said Laura Pitt, administrative assistant for the borough

manager and the designer of the West Chester's current Web site.

Unisys will host the main site and offer to host sites for businesses and

other organizations, charging monthly fees. The company will also establish

a "cybercafe," an office where people can have access to the portal.

Pitt said the portal will be free to everyone for general access, but for

those who want additional services, such as a customized site or advanced

e-commerce transactions, there may be fees. Pitt said Unisys is considering

having people pay a monthly $2 to $5 fee, or charging nothing for a year

to try and build excitement about the project.

Mary Ann Zaborowski, vice president and general manager of the program for

Unisys, said the company chose West Chester because they could test the

concept in the company's backyard and then branch out.

"This is the first of many incubator programs, where we're bringing businesses

and government together," Zaborowski said.

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