GTE partners with Operation HOPE, Inc. to help bridge the technology gap and close the digital divide.

IRVING, Texas - Striving to diversify cyber citizenship, GTE has teamed up with Operation HOPE, Inc. and several other companies to provide high-speed Internet access and e-commerce capabilities for one of the country's first inner-city cyber cafs. The Inner-City Cyber Caf, located at 3721 South LaBrea Ave. in the south central community of Los Angeles, opens today with a visit by Vice President Gore.

The 2,500-square-foot cafe features a gourmet coffee kiosk, and seeks to create a friendly, comfortable and positive atmosphere in which local residents can maximize the use of the Internet by engaging in e-commerce, performing online research and conducting business meetings. GTE will provide high-speed Internet access by GTE.net for the caf's 16 personal computers.

"The number of Americans accessing the Internet has grown tremendously in the past year, but far too many individuals are still lacking the opportunity to enjoy its benefits," said Alex Coleman, vice president/general manager of online services for GTE Internet, the Internet service provider unit of GTE Corp. "GTE's involvement in the Inner-City Cyber Caf will help to close more of the nation's digital divide, and more deeply drives access to the Internet into this very special community."

GTE's involvement in the caf extends its support of bringing entry-level information and technology literacy skills to underserved communities. In the past several years, GTE has:

  • presented the National Urban League with a $500,000 grant for the purposes of expanding its digital campus program and teaching information technology skills to minorities

  • joined forces with Austin, Texas-based Recompute to make accessing the Internet easy and affordable by offering individuals the ability to purchase Internet-ready PCs pre-loaded with GTE.net software

  • presented the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) with a $200,000 grant for the Young Readers Program which includes the development of a computer lab

  • provided computer equipment and Internet services by GTE.net to each United Negro College Fund school so students can develop their professional skills and enhance their job searches

  • loaned an executive to the NAACP, providing them our telecommunications expertise in connecting the more than 2,200 branches nationwide, and

  • conducted introductory Internet workshops to children, pre-college and college students through selected national organizations including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Black Executive Exchange Program and the National Urban League.

  • John Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc. considers the Inner-City Cyber Caf to be a "critical empowerment initiative."

    "It is designed to literally bridge the technological and 'perspective' gap separating inner-city and mainstream communities. It will be used to provide local residents with Internet financial services, access to critical information and tutorial and fun-related Web activities," said Bryant.

    Operation HOPE, Inc., America's first non-profit investment banking organization, has helped to substantially change the face of inner-city banking and finance. It has accomplished this by meeting people where they are, and by finding unique and innovative ways to "bridge the gap" into true economic opportunity and prosperity.

    In addition to the high-speed Internet access service provided by GTE, Intuit will provide e-finance and financial software; Unisys will offer PCs and network integration services and EDP will supply the cyber caf with computer furniture.

    The US Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration, provided Operation HOPE with a grant of approximately $200,000 in first-year operating funds to help the organization successfully launch the Cyber Caf.

    About GTE

    With 1999 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is a leading telecommunications provider with one of the industry's broadest arrays of products and services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 18 states, as well as long-distance, directory, and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies. Outside the United States, the company serves customers on five continents. More information about GTE can be found at http://www.gte.com.

    GTE's community and philanthropic programs target excellence in education, particularly math, science, technology and literacy. GTE also supports job training, delivery of health and human services, and the arts. The company's newest program is GTE Reads, a public charity designed to create public awareness, increase fundraising and support organizations dedicated to improving America's literacy levels. GTE customers can contribute to GTE Reads by checking off a box on their bill. Others can contribute through GTE Superpages.com (http://www.superpages.com).

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