Compaq helping N.C. digital divide
- By Brian Robinson
- Feb 11, 2002
North Carolina's push to breach the digital divide in its rural counties
has received a boost from Compaq Computer Corp., which is funding a credit
purchase program to help bring affordable, high-speed access to all parts
of the state.
The program will provide credits for each computer system that the company
sells to state agencies, schools and individual government workers via the
North Carolina State Employees Purchase Program contract that it holds with
the state. The credits should be worth between $50,000 and $100,000 to the
state, which it can trade in for additional Compaq systems.
"We are looking to outfit public centers around the state where people
can come to get onto the Internet, and where they can also be trained on
how to use computers and the Internet," said Kathryn Viets, a spokeswoman
for the state's e-NC Initiative (www.e-nc.org). "We
have three in place now and another two on the way, and the Compaq computers
and servers we get for the credits will prove invaluable for these."
Compaq is the only company that has set up this kind of credit program,
Viets said. Other companies contribute to the e-NC Initiative through such
means as loaning out top people to the program.
"When the legislation was passed to form the North Carolina Rural Internet
Access Authority [which runs the e-NC Initiative], our folks looked at what
they were doing and liked what they saw," said Bill Carver, senior manager
for public affairs at Compaq. "With our program, the state can put six or
eight computers into these public centers, compared to the four or so they
can afford to put into them now."
The credit program is expected to last at least for the next year, and
applies to equipment ranging from handheld personal digital assistants all
the way up to Compaq's ProLiant servers.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.