Montana’s online fishing and hunting licensing system is among the country’s best government services on the Internet, according to an international group that evaluates Web-based offerings.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' online licensing service was singled out in the " Best of the Web" national competition for e-government excellence sponsored by the Washington, D.C. based Center for Digital Government. The FWP licensing system, available through Montana's official state web site at www.DiscoveringMontana.com, was ranked among the nation's top three general state government online services. The award will be presented tonight in New York City.
“Government services continue to be more robust and easier to navigate,” said Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Montana’s comprehensive fish and game suite reflects the state’s commitment to serve its outdoor enthusiasts.”
The Center for Digital Government, now in its eighth year, is an international research and advisory institute that focuses on information technology in government. Its Best of the Web awards evaluate the innovation, efficiency, economy, and functionality of government Web sites.
“Our goal is to offer the best and easiest to use licensing system on the Internet," said FWP Director Jeff Hagener. "We're proud and honored that the highly regarded Center for Digital Government recognizes that a small state like Montana can offer exceptional e-services to its customers."
FWP's Web-based licensing system, launched just six months ago, allows customers to purchase most hunting, fishing, and recreational-use licenses over the Internet. Most sales take less than five minutes, and Visa and MasterCard payments are processed through the state's secure payment server. Montana sells more than one million licenses each year, including approximately 370,000 to out-of-state hunters and anglers. Since April, more than 7,600 licenses were purchased via FWP's online service.
Brian Wolf, Montana’s Chief Information Officer for information technology, said the state places a high value on using technology to efficiently serve customers. “Being recognized as Best of the Web is validation that we’ve built a valuable system that makes life easier for sportsmen and sportswomen who hunt, fish and pursue recreational activities in our great state.”
Representatives from the Center for Digital Government, Government Technology magazine, State Technology, Inc., and state and local government officials from Virginia and Florida, were on the judging panel for the 2003 Best of the Web contest.
FWP's Online Licensing system is the result of an alliance between state government and the private sector. The system was cooperatively developed and is supported by Montana FWP, the Montana Department of Administration’s Information Technology Services Division, Western Computer Services (WESCO) and Montana Interactive, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of eGovernment provider NIC (Nasdaq: EGOV).