Dubbed MassEd.net, the new initiative will result in a new ISP provided by the Massachusetts Department of Education exclusively for more than 80,000 Massachusetts educators. MassEd.net will use 3Com's Total Control remote access concentrator to facilitate access to the wealth of educational resources available on the Internet for educators.
Unlimited local access to the Internet will be provided free to educators involved in the MassEd.net project through September. After that time, there will be a $25 annual fee with no additional charges, providing savings of more than $200 compared to rates charged by commercial services. The unlimited Internet access is available only to educators who are employed by a Massachusetts public school or a public agency offering early childhood, K-12, vocational/technical, or adult basic education.
JavaNet, a New England ISP, will provide the Internet access and toll-free technical support for the initiative, and Global NAPs, a local exchange carrier based in Quincy, Massachusetts, will provide the necessary telecommunications services.
To inaugurate the program, a computer equipped with a 3Com-U.S. Robotics 56-kbps fax modem was donated by 3Com to a teacher at the Woodrow Wilson School in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
As a special MassEd.net offer, 3Com is making its U.S. Robotics 56-kbps fax modem with x2 technology available to all Massachusetts educators at a discounted rate. The modem also includes a free upgrade to the ITU 56-kbps standard.
"3Com applauds the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' commitment to the professional growth of its educators," David Katz, 3Com's global education industry manager, said in a statement. "Technology can open up new and exciting learning opportunities for students, but teachers must be prepared to harness those opportunities in order to create truly successful 21st-century classrooms."
The is not the first time 3Com has attempted to make inroads into the education marketplace. In other efforts, the company has provided the equipment, design, installation, volunteers, and teacher training to network and provide Internet access for thousands of schools by launching the Massachusetts Liberty Network (MLN) project in Boston, which provided more than $3.1 million in resources to network and provide Internet access for almost 190 schools and libraries.