Notes From the Field

Notes From the Field

by / October 31, 1996
To the Editor:
My sincere appreciation for the quality of your periodical. After having received three issues I can honestly say there is no publication I find of more value in my job as an IS manager of a 1400+ employee public safety organization. I always find at least several articles that are of immediate use and many with issues that are on the horizon for my agency. Please keep up the excellent work. You have become a valued "member" of my team.

Lt. R. Dale Anderson
Commander, Computer Services
Prince George's County Police
Landover, Md.

Austin/Travis County
I would like to take this opportunity to compliment you on the September 1996 issue of Government Technology. This issue confronted the changing technology "head on."

David Aden's article, "Online to the Year 2000," prompted me to write about our experience in Austin, Texas. Taking data and information and turning it into knowledge is one of the most critical challenges facing communities today. In a move to keep Austin's communications policy proactive, Austin/Travis County and the state of Texas recently joined forces to ensure that all citizens will have access to the National Information Infrastructure. Construction has begun on a fiber-optic cable network linking virtually every local and state government office in Austin.

The $15 million Greater Austin Area Telecommunications Network, to be completed by the end of 1996, will provide telephone, data and video services for seven members: the Austin Independent School District, Austin Community College, the city of Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority, Travis County, the state of Texas and the University of Texas at Austin.

The 285 miles of cable connecting more than 300 public facilities will be the largest cooperative telecommunications system in the nation.

More importantly, Austin students will be able to use the network for everything from accessing library materials located across town to communicating with electronic pen pals around the world.

Technology is a gateway not only to the future but also to the past.

Jimmy A. Castro
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Austin, Texas

Access Column
I work for the Rockford, Ill., Police Department in the Research and Development Division. Our lieutenant in charge of our Records Division has read your article which was published in the July issue of Government Technology.

We would like more information about your Access Reports newsletter, its cost and if possible a sample copy.

Richard Cunningham
Rockford Police Department
Rockford, Ill.

I am a police officer with the Charleston Police Department in Charleston, S.C. I read your article in Government Technology with great interest. I work in the Identification Bureau and the issue of privacy and criminal records comes up all the time. How can I or the Police Department subscribe to your newsletter?

Paula Flint
Charleston Police Department
Charleston, S.C.

Ed. Note: For information on Access Reports, contact Harry Hammitt at <>.

Football Anyone?
Re: "Telecom Reform on the Gridiron," September 1996.

I really enjoyed the reprint of FCC Chairman Reed Hundt's sports analogy explaining the new rules of competition for telecommunication companies. One could view deregulation as totally unfair to the incumbent. Or it could be said that the end of phone and cable TV company dominance is well past due.

Personally, as a Redskins fan in Cowboys land, I favor whatever means required (even Congressional intervention) for a repeat performance of two Washington victories against "Da Boys."

Dennis Arneson
Computer Specialist
Department of Veterans Affairs
Austin, Texas

Telecom Reform
I appreciate the articles on the Telecommunications Act of 1996. As a technology person, I am concerned that the telecom area will evolve into various forms of networking technology both local and global. I think the Telecom Act is an attempt to keep up with this industry as it evolves as well as to permit the changes.

I hope you are able to emphasize the telecom issues which result from FCC regulations, lawsuits and other effects of the Act. It is important for us in the cities to keep up. I am especially interested in how we can encourage and support this evolution while also fulfilling our role as regulators and providers of civic services.

Mike Bailey
Finance Director
City of Everett, Wash.