America Online, Inc.
Governor Gilmore Inaugurates America Online's New Prince William County Tech Center
-- Governor attends ribbon-cutting ceremony for $520 million facility --
Prince William County, VA - Governor Jim Gilmore today attended the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for a state-of-the-art technology center built by America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), the world's leading interactive services company, in Prince William County, Virginia. America Online initially broke ground on the facility in March 1999, and construction was completed in February 2000.
"Virginia is the Internet Capital of the world," said Governor Gilmore. "We are honored that America Online, a major powerhouse in today's new economy, is opening this important technology center right here in Prince William County. Together, AOL and Virginia will work as a true team to expand the online frontier."
The new Prince William County facility houses computer systems and related equipment that will support the AOL service and several of America Online, Inc.'s family of brands, including AOL.COM, AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Netcenter, Digital City, Spinner, Moviefone, and CompuServe. Through its investment to date and future expansion plans, the Company estimates that the facility will represent a total investment in Prince William County of $520 million.
"America Online was born in Virginia, and we've grown up in Virginia," said Steve Case, America Online Chairman and CEO. "We're proud to become the newest corporate citizen of Prince William County, and we're gratified by the support of business, civic, and political leaders from across the region who, led by Governor Gilmore, helped make this tech center a reality. With tens of millions of people connecting to AOL's family of brands through our facilities in the region every day, it's no exaggeration to say that the heart of the Internet is beating in Northern Virginia."
America Online, Inc. purchased approximately 25 acres of land in the Battlefield Business Park in Prince William County for the construction of the 240,000 square foot technology center. When fully operational, the site will have 125 employees working on site in shifts around the clock every day of the year. The new technology center has state-of-the-art systems for power distribution and telecommunications, including battery protection and diesel generators for backup power and fully redundant, self-healing fiber rings on the telecommunications side.
The Prince William County facility joins America Online, Inc.'s existing technology centers in Reston and Dulles, Virginia; Mountain View, California; Frankfurt, Germany; Sydney, Australia, and Tokyo, Japan. Through its ongoing global infrastructure expansion, America Online has distributed interactive content around the world to give its members the fastest and most reliable access. A recent Visual Networks' (formerly Inverse Network Technology) benchmark rating gave America Online the highest grade for the amount of time required to download typical Web pages -- 29% faster than the industry average.
Last year, Governor Gilmore approved a grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund in the amount of $500,000 to assist Prince William County with site preparation. In addition, Prince William County supplied $500,000 in grants. In making the selection, America Online, Inc. worked closely with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and officials from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance is providing workforce training services to the company.
About America Online, Inc.
Founded in 1985, America Online, Inc., based in Dulles, Virginia, is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies, and e-commerce services. America Online, Inc. operates: America Online, with more than 22 million members, and CompuServe, with more than 2.7 million members, the company's two worldwide Internet services; several leading Internet brands including ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger and Digital City, Inc.; the Netscape Netcenter and AOL.COM portals; the Netscape Navigator and Communicator browsers; AOL Moviefone, the nation's #1 movie listing guide and ticketing service; and Spinner.com and NullSoft's Winamp, leaders in Internet music. Through its strategic alliance with Sun Microsystems, the company develops and offers easy-to-deploy, end-to-end e-commerce and enterprise solutions for companies operating in the Net Economy.