Digex offers schools free access to Internet

MARYLAND WATCH

November 30, 1995

Digital Express Group, a Beltsville-based Internet access provider, said yesterday that it would donate high-speed connections to the worldwide computer network to each of Maryland's 24 public school systems.

Doug Humphrey, chairman of Digex, made the surprise announcement at a meeting of the state Information Technology Board. He said his company would provide the service free for a full school year to any of Maryland's 23 counties or Baltimore City.

The company put the value of the offer at $5,000 to $10,000 per school system.

Mr. Humphrey said his company also is interested in finding partners who could help defray the costs of using the Internet.

The reaction at the meeting was somewhat mixed, with some participants questioning what would happen to the service after a year.

Mr. Humphrey said that after a year school authorities could continue the service on a paying basis or discontinue with no penalty.

Digex, a rapidly growing company that got its start in Mr. Humphrey's basement in Greenbelt four years ago, now employs more than 100 people and serves much of the Northeast.

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