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GSA, Native American Tribal Council Sign FTS2000 Service Agreement

GSA# 9371

December 20, 1996
Contact: Bill Bearden
(202) 501-1231
Internet: bill.bearden@gsa.gov


GSA, Native American Tribal Council Sign FTS2000 Service Agreement

As part of the Clinton Administration's continuing efforts to advance the government-to-government partnerships with federally recognized Native American Tribal Organizations and Councils, the Quileute People of La Push, Washington today signed an agreement with the U.S. General Services Administration to use the federal government's FTS2000 long-distance telephone service.

"These service agreements will provide lower cost, higher quality telecommunications services to Native American Tribal Organizations," said GSA's acting Administrator Dave Barram. "It will bring Internet access to them which will open up a whole range of educational opportunities for members of the Tribal Organizations, especially the children."

The agreements support the Clinton Administration's objectives of strengthening intergovernmental partnerships, providing access to the information super highway, and increasing the use of technology to streamline financial services.

Ada E. Deer, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Department of Interior and a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, said, "As we approach the 21st Century, it is imperative that tribes and tribal members -- especially our young people -- have economical access to the Information Age."

She said, "The telecommunications agreement that we celebrate today provides an important link between tribes and others. Because of the remote location of many reservations, I can't emphasize too strongly how this agreement will benefit tribes that choose to use this service."

Signing the agreement on behalf of the Quileute Tribal Council, Sherman Black said, "I am proud to be here representing the Quileute people because of the importance of information technology to the future development of Native American Indians and our children's future. I look forward to the day when Native Americans everywhere can share equity through a virtual connectivity."

Utilizing the services of the federal telecommunications system, Indian tribes will realize the advantages of cost savings for all forms of telecommunication services.

Black said "This will allow Indian tribes to speak with a unified political voice and follow a tested migration path."


Agreement Creates Opportunities

By joining GSA's long-distance FTS2000 telecommunications service, Native Americans will have access to reliable and cheaper information technology and support services for the betterment of their tribal members, their economic empowerment, social development, and cultural preservation.

More than 550 Native American Tribal Organizations and Councils are eligible to benefit from the federal governments FTS2000 services. Just one FTS2000 service -- Internet connectivity or access to the "information super highway" -- can bring the world and all its knowledge almost instantly to anyone, especially to classroom children who need the latest in information today to prepare for tomorrow.

The cheaper long-distance service will enable these Native American organizations to communicate better, government-to-government, on a more frequent and routine basis. The Quileute Council of La Push, Washington became the first Native Americans to join FTS2000 at today's ceremony when Sherman Black signed the agreement.


FTS2000 Background

GSA's FTS2000 network provides low-cost long-distance telecommunications services to Federal agencies. Through contracts with AT&T and Sprint, GSA's long-distance prices for federal agencies are the lowest in the business -- nearly 18 percent below current equivalent commercial offerings. Calls cost 1.9 cents per network minute to another FTS2000 telephone and 5.6 cents per minute to any telephone in the country as of October 1, 1996. These prices will reduce even further next fiscal year.

FTS2000 provides clear and cost-effective long-distance service to 1.7 million users in the federal government. It carries 450 million minutes per month of voice traffic, about 300 percent more than originally projected at time of award. Through innovative working partnerships with the private sector, FTS2000 uses digital telecommunications and fiber optics to provide its customers with state-of-the-art services. The program provides long-distance voice, data, and video services to federal agencies.

Today, FTS customers can select from various long-distance telecommunications services provided by FTS2000 including:

Switched Voice Service
Dedicated Transmission Service
Packet Switched Service
Video Transmission Service
Switched Data Service
Switched Digital Integrated Service

There have been many FTS2000 network service enhancements since the program began in 1988. Among these are Internet connectivity, asynchronous transfer mode, enhanced student response system, synchronous optical network, enhanced 800 service, frame relay, and distance learning.

Native American Tribal Organizations and Councils desiring to use the FTS2000 services should call Alvin Woods at (703) 760-7568 or Julie Belindo at (703) 904-2803.


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