Hawaii Educational Networking Consortium (HENC) Names Statewide
Dialup Internet Service Provider
The Hawaii Educational Networking Consortium, a partnership of the Department of Education, University of Hawaii and the East-West Center, announced the signing of a contract to provide affordable dial-up Internet access statewide for members of the public educational community. After a formal solicitation of competitive proposals, GST Hawaii OnLine was selected as the preferred Internet service provider.
Eligible subscribers will be all students, faculty and staff of all three member institutions. The contract calls for GST Hawaii OnLine to offer unlimited dialup access on all islands for $14.85 per month. Individuals will be able reduce the cost further by prepaying a full year for $163.40. The contract also includes provisions for ISDN dialup service and a toll-free (800-number) service for members of the educational community who travel outside Hawaii.
According to David Lassner, Director of Information Technology for the University of Hawaii, "this agreement leverages the buying power of the statewide educational community to provide dialup service on all islands at a monthly rate that is far below market price. Neighbor islanders will especially benefit from this arrangement."
Diana Kaapana Oshiro, Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Information and Telecommunication Services at the Department of Education says "learning today takes place at the home and workplace as well as in our schools. The DOE doesn't have the resources to provide dialup services for all of our students and teachers throughout the State, but we need to improve the links between home and school."
Both the DOE and UH have been actively improving access to education through their highly successful distance learning programs. The two institutions have worked together for years to utilize interactive television, Cable TV and most recently on-line learning technologies. The recent joint Board of Education - Board of Regents Task Force identified technology as one of the three key areas for cooperation between the UH and DOE, and increasing the accessibility of dialup Internet was one of the Task Force's specific recommendations.
The University has operated free dialup services for over 15 years and now has the largest community of dialup users in the State. Lassner notes that "with over 46,000 dialup accounts and only about 250 modems we have the worst ratio of users-to-modems in town. Given the ongoing budget reductions throughout the State there's no way we can expand free modem pool services to meet the needs of all the students and faculty on every island. The new contract with GST Hawaii OnLine will provide a much higher availability service for those who need more time on-line or cannot tolerate the busy signals that are inherent in a free, limited service."
GST Hawaii OnLine will soon announce a free on-line service to register eligible educational subscribers. Walk-in services and registration via mail will also be available. The service is expected to ramp-up during the summer be available on all islands by August 15, 1997, in time for the start of the 1997-98 school year.