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PRESS RELEASE

March 4, 2003

Contact: Pam Bryant
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130

Florida Department of Education outsources FIRN for improved services

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Education announced today the outsourcing of the Florida Information Resource Network, now known as FIRN 2. Hayes E-Government Solutions Inc. will manage this network, which has provided Internet access, content filtering and other data services to Florida schools for 18 years.

In recent years, the enormous increase in the use of the Internet as an educational tool has challenged FIRN's capacity to meet the needs of Florida's educational community. The Department of Education will use a new approach to improve services through FIRN 2 that will:

  • Increase funding for services through the E-Rate program, a Federal Communications Commission activity that provides reimbursements to schools and libraries to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access.

  • Increase available bandwidth to schools.

  • Eliminate extensive system downtime.

  • Allow the addition of new services.

Hayes has provided over 30 years of data solutions, networking and electronic project solutions to government agencies. Its subcontractors include major worldwide telecommunications companies.

"FIRN 2 will support a Web portal, parental access and the efficient customer service outlined in Gov. Jeb Bush's imperatives for technology in education," said Ruben Lopez, chief technology officer of the Florida Department of Education. "We are excited about this development, and we are confident it will benefit education in Florida."

To find out more about the FIRN 2 project, call the Department's Office of Technology and Information Services at (850) 921-9334.