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U.S. Department Of State
96/09/11 Statement: Contract Awarded for Passport Information Center
Office of the Spokesman


Press Statement By Nicholas Burns, Spokesman
September 11, 1996


             NATIONAL PASSPORT INFORMATION CENTER (NPIC)
                          CONTRACT AWARDED

We are pleased to announce that AT&T has been awarded the contract
for establishment of the National Passport Information Center
(NPIC).  No government funds are required for performance of
services associated with this contract which will be self-supported
from the revenue generated by the newly created 1-900 number.  This
is a cost-effective solution for both the government and our
customers.  The National Passport Information Center will be located
in Dover, New Hampshire.  We anticipate that it will be fully
operational in late November or early December.  The 1-900 telephone
number will be announced prior to the opening of the NPIC.

The NPIC is necessary because our 15 U.S. passport agencies have
been unable to keep up with public telephone inquiries, leaving a
large number of customers dissatisfied.  The current decentralized
telephone system is inefficient and no longer cost effective.  The
NPIC, with its modern technology, will help Passport Services
fulfill its commitment to providing outstanding customer service
while at the same time being able to meet a growing customer demand.

Once operational, the NPIC will ensure that passport telephone
inquiries are answered immediately and that callers receive a prompt
accurate response to their questions.  Callers will be informed at
the outset of their call as to the charge per minute.  Both voice
response units and live operators will be available for caller
inquiries.  The voice response units will be available 24 hours a
day, seven days a week and a live operator will be available during
designated business hours from Monday through Friday.  The NPIC will
answer inquiries in English, Spanish, and TDD.
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