State lines

Wireless lure. Allegany County, Md., is saving money with a new wireless broadband network that it hopes will draw IT companies to an area hit hard by cuts in manufacturing jobs.

The county first built an intranet called AllCoNet in 1994, said Jeff Blank, supervisor of networking and microcomputers at Allegany Public Schools. Now the county is promoting AllCoNet 2 to lure technology companies to the area. 'Our economic development team found that our lack of telecom services was prohibitive for high-tech industries,' Blank said.

The revamped, $4.7 million AllCoNet 2 uses a mixture of licensed and unlicensed technologies.

'It gives us incredible coverage,' Blank said. When fully deployed, AllCoNet 2 will reach 85 percent of county residences and 95 percent of businesses spread over more than 550 square miles.

To supply similar coverage with fiber would have cost the county $180 million, Blank said. He estimated the wireless network is saving $70,000 a month.

Net in the works. The Washington State Department of Information Services is planning two solicitations for a justice information network. One will be for the design of the network's technical architecture, and the other will be for the network's enterprise service architecture.

The goal of the network is to ensure that any justice worker in the state will have complete information about any suspect or offender.

This information will come from data that has been entered into an automated statewide system, and will be available on any workstation with a network connection.

The network will be the foundation for future justice information-sharing projects within Washington's enterprise and participating local governments. The state is planning to release the requests for proposals this month.

Medicaid renewal. The Arkansas Department of Human Services has renewed a contract with Electronic Data Systems Corp. to continue supporting the state's Medicaid program.

Under the seven-year deal expected to be worth $93.7 million, the company will continue to operate a statewide system and network to deliver information to health care providers and process Medicaid claims. The company provides services such as help desk, training seminars, on-site visits and Web functions.

EDS processes more than $2.4 billion annually through the system, making payments to more than 14,000 health care providers. The company has managed the state's Medicaid program, which provides medical services to children and adults with limited income and resources, since 1985.

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