The University of California selected AT&T for a three-year, USD 27 million contract to build a telecommunications system for the California Telehealth Network. The telehealth network was established in 2007 as part of a USD 22 million pilot project funded by the Federal Communications Commission. The project aims to improve health care access in rural and underserved areas. The new AT&T contract is expected to provide the telehealth network with the framework to connect more than 860 sites throughout California. UC-Davis Medical Center plans to help coordinate the project. Officials say the initiative will allow smaller hospitals and clinics to connect with physicians and specialists at larger hospitals by streaming video and audio through a closed-circuit system. The network also aims to provide health care professionals with access to clinical research; and distance learning opportunities. In addition, the network eventually could offer access to commercially hosted electronic health record systems. Project organizers say they plan to assist health care providers in using the telemedicine equipment and building relationships with other providers.