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NEW YORK - Verizon Communications has set up a full-service operation to help schools and libraries apply for federal funding under the "E-Rate" program that provides discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access and wiring.
The company has staffed dedicated customer service centers, trained special counselors, and enhanced its Web site to provide schools and libraries with all the information they need to apply.
"We are striving to make it as easy as possible for schools to participate in the E-Rate program and do business with Verizon," said Dr. Greg Mathison, Ph.D, director of education practice for Verizon's Enterprise Solutions Group. "Verizon is passionate about programs like E-Rate that enable Verizon to help local schools and libraries provide the technology they need to enhance learning."
Under the four-year-old federal program managed by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administration Company, schools and libraries must submit two forms by Jan. 18 to qualify for next year's E-Rate funding.
The first form, due by Dec. 20, identifies a description of services to be purchased and serves as a request for quotation from competing suppliers, like Verizon. The second form, due by Jan. 18, indicates the school's or library's selection of both the supplier and services, and it serves as a formal request for funding
"Teams of specially trained Verizon representatives will assist school and library personnel when they call the following numbers:
- In New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island, call 1-800-537-0434.
- In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, call 1-800-547-5474.
- In Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, California, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, call 1-800-483-6000.
- In Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, call 1-800-937-1674.
- In Hawaii, call 808-643-3211.
Verizon's K-12 Web site ( www.Verizon.com/edk-12) has detailed information to help schools maximize the technologies and savings offered by the E-Rate program. The site offers tips on planning for various technologies and for entering application material.
"The E-Rate program has helped 95 percent of American schools and libraries gain access to affordable Internet and advanced telecommunication technologies," Dr. Mathison said. "Verizon wants to keep that trend going. As one of the nation's leading integrated communications providers, we can provide technological solutions that enhance the K-12 student learning experience and help schools improve test scores, provide professional development for teachers and staff, and promote better parent-teacher collaboration."
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 101 million access line equivalents and more than 26 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com .