Passport call center expands services

The State Department has stretched a contract with AT&T Government Solutions to manage its National Passport Information Center for another five years, in a $15.7 million deal that also beefs up customer service.

The Dover, N.H., site, a call center for passport queries, will remain under AT&T's IT helm through a contract that the General Services Administration awarded on behalf of the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Passport Services Directorate.

AT&T Government Solutions will add e-mail and fax communications to the center's 24-hour automated voice response technology, the company announced yesterday.

State, in announcing a contract extension last month, said the 7-year-old call center would expand its weekday hours, with operators accepting calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Also, the center will move to a toll-free phone number instead of charging 55 cents to $1.50 per minute through a 900 number. The center also has an 888 number with a $5.50 flat fee per call, which has cut the wait time down from 15 minutes or more.

State said last month that implementation should be wrapped up by summer's end, and news updates would be posted at travel.state.gov.


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