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Compaq tapping school market

The PC giant seeks to attract schools taking part in a new government-funded program for Net access and other telecommunications.

Compaq Computer will bundle educational software with selected servers to attract schools participating in a new government-funded program for telecommunications services, the company said today.

Compaq will offer ProLiant servers and education software packages that provide classrooms with the Internet connectivity required to participate in the federal E-Rate program.

The server packages are tailored to the size of the institution. Wired schools: It takes a village For instance, the 233-MHz Pentium II-based Proliant 1200 is aimed at small elementary schools with up to 100 users. The 300-MHz Pentium II ProLiant 1600 is intended for medium-sized middle schools with up to 250 users, and the 300-MHz Pentium II ProLiant 3000 targets schools with up to 500 users.

The servers are preconfigured with either Novell or Microsoft server software. Email capabilities with either software package are optional. The servers are priced between $7,847 to $13,293, depending on the configuration.

The federally sponsored E-Rate program will offer $2.25 billion annually in discounts on Internet access and internal connections for qualified public schools, libraries, and hospitals. These institutions can purchase routers, switches, hubs, servers, and networking software at their discretion, at discounts up to 90 percent.

Although Apple Computer has historically dominated the education market, the Cupertino, California, company lost a significant amount of market share in 1997. Microsoft and PC manufacturers have been making steady inroads in a market segment that will approach $5 billion in revenue in 1998, according to market research firm Dataquest.

Although dial-up PC connections are not covered under this program, Compaq offers its Presario ES education PCs through the Compaq Certified Education Partners program.

Separately, Hewlett-Packard today launched its AdvanceNet Education track, a reseller rebate program for HP products sold to K-12 schools and universities.