BC TELECOM and University of British Columbia forge information technology alliance

British Columbia’s largest university and telecommunications
company have entered into an innovative 10-year relationship
that will increase and improve services for post-secondary
students and other learners throughout B.C. and beyond.

BC TELECOM will work with the University of British Columbia
to design and build a new broadband, fibre-optic infrastructure,
linking sites throughout UBC’s 400-hectare campus. The Campus
project will provide classrooms, laboratories,
offices and student residences with high-speed access (up
to 10 megabytes per second) to electronic mail and the World
Wide Web.

“This alliance is great news for everyone involved, especially
our students,” said UBC President David Strangway. “Working
with BC TELECOM, our university will be a technological leader,
able to provide enhanced education to students in the Lower
Mainland and throughout the province.”

“In addition, this will allow us to explore and provide educational
leadership through research on the social impact and policy
implications of new information technologies.”

The initiative will enable faculty members to prepare course
materials for student use on the Web, from posting lecture
notes to creating interactive, multimedia experiments. Students
will also be able to use the Web to apply for admission, search
library catalogues and even access their final grades. Space
in overcrowded libraries, meanwhile, will be freed up by services
that allow faculty members to order electronic versions of
scholarly journals.

In the future, students throughout the province will also
be able to take courses concurrently with students on campus.
Using the Internet, they will be able to complete course work
and take part in discussions through on-line tutorials and

Both partners will also provide distance learning to university
students outside Greater Vancouver, as well as develop and
market multimedia applications for other educational institutions
and companies. For example, the agreement calls for the creation
of a training centre which will instruct teachers on the effective
use of new information technologies in elementary, secondary,
post-secondary and private-sector education.

Under the agreement, BC TELECOM will become the university’s
principal telecommunications provider. This is the first step
in formalizing a long-term relationship between the two organizations.

“It demonstrates how telecommunications technology can bridge
distances, improve education and foster socio-economic growth.
This alliance shows the true spirit of the B.C. Electronic
Highway Accord,” said BC TELECOM Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer Brian Canfield.

“We view our groundbreaking relationship with UBC as a model
for other universities and colleges. It brings a wide variety
of current activities and new initiatives into a partnership
that will strengthen and grow as new opportunities and technologies
evolve,” Canfield added.

The British Columbia Electronic Highway Accord is an alliance
among the provincial government, the telecommunications industry,
learning institutions and others to provide universal and
affordable access to the electronic highway and to develop
British Columbia’s information technology industry.

Interview Availability:

David Strangway will be available for interviews on Thursday,
Aug. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Brian Canfield or Bruce Calder, BC TEL’s Assistant Vice-president
of Corporate Sales, will be available for interviews on Thursday,
Aug. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.