Los Angeles -- A group of low-income students may now have
the most high-tech tools available in the entire city.
MediaOne Group Inc. is in the company of high-powered
charities here that contributed to the PUENTE Learning Center's South Los Angeles
campus, which opened last week.
The facility is the beneficiary of donations from companies
such as Atlantic Richfield Co., United Airlines Inc. and 3Com Corp., along with charities
such as The Ahmanson Foundation and the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation, in addition to
The cable operator brought fiber to the campus, located in
the mean streets in perhaps the city's roughest neighborhood, on Western Avenue, not
far from where the Los Angeles riots began.
MediaOne wired the seven classrooms with "Category
6" copper cabling, capable of supporting 1-gigabit-per-second speed directly to each
computer, according to campus officials.
Each room also has multimode fiber optic cabling installed
to facilitate other high-speed-data or video links as needed. These are important, as
educators plan video conferences and other distance applications with a second learning
center on the city's east side.
Ironically, the center opened only a few weeks after cable
critics -- in filings in Washington, D.C., to oppose cable mega-mergers and support open
access -- alleged that the industry is not bringing broadband services to low-income
The filing cited MediaOne's Los Angeles operation.
However, this project was not an answer to that criticism. MediaOne's participation
dates back two years, and executives have supported the learning center even longer than
Giselle Acevedo-Franco, spokesman for the local system,
estimated that the broadband connections will save the center about $10,000 per month,
compared with the use of slower T-1 lines.
The center can accommodate 1,000 students, who participate
tuition-free in classes in computer skills and English as a second language, as well as
Officials anticipate that the PUENTE Center will be as
popular at the east-side facility, which commonly has a 700-person waiting list for