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BroadVision wants portal for the people

The company teams with Sprint to sell its Web portal application and Sprint's services to cities and counties to help people take care of government business online.

Allowing people to use the Web to pay taxes, renew business permits, and take care of other kinds of business with their local government is the aim of a new partnership between Sprint and e-business software company BroadVision.

The companies said Wednesday that they have bundled their software and services and plan to jointly sell them to city and county governments.

The system uses the Internet to help governments provide citizen services and information more efficiently and at a lesser cost, the companies said. It can also be used to streamline government interactions with employees and suppliers. Included in the eGov bundle are BroadVision's Internet portal applications and Sprint's Web hosting and consulting services.

Putting services and forms online typically reduces government costs by as much as 25 percent and improves the quality of service and convenience for customers, according to McKinsey, a management consulting company.

Many states and cities in the United States have already set up Web sites that provide access to information and services, according to research groups The Progress & Freedom Foundation and the Center for Digital Government.

All but two states make business-permit and license forms available online, and more than 90 percent allow taxpayers to file tax returns through their Web sites, according to a 2001 survey of state chief information officers by the two research groups. However, only six states allow citizens and businesses to apply for or renew licenses online, according to the survey.