Pennsylvania Burrough to Pilot Unisys Portal

WASHINGTON (07/28/2000) - Unisys Corp. has chosen West Chester, Pa., for a community Internet portal pilot project that aims to bring citizens, business and government together on one site.

Unisys, based in nearby Blue Bell, Pa., will spend about $30 million to set up the World Wide Web portal for West Chester and the surrounding townships East Bradford, East and West Goshen, Thornbury, Westtown and West Whiteland.

"The idea is that if they go to www.westchester.locallife.com, they can enter the borough of West Chester as a whole, accessing the government and business community," said Laura Pitt, administrative assistant for the borough manager and the designer of the West Chester's current Web site.

Unisys will host the main site and offer to host sites for businesses and other organizations, charging monthly fees. The company will also establish a "cybercafe," an office where people can have access to the portal.

Pitt said the portal will be free to everyone for general access, but for those who want additional services, such as a customized site or advanced e-commerce transactions, there may be fees. Pitt said Unisys is considering having people pay a monthly $2 to $5 fee, or charging nothing for a year to try and build excitement about the project.

Mary Ann Zaborowski, vice president and general manager of the program for Unisys, said the company chose West Chester because they could test the concept in the company's backyard and then branch out.

"This is the first of many incubator programs, where we're bringing businesses and government together," Zaborowski said.

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