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GTE CALIFORNIA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO HELP VICTIMS OF CIVIL UNREST; EXTENDS 213/310 AREA CODE INTERCHANGEABLE DIALING INDEFINITELY

 GTE CALIFORNIA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO HELP VICTIMS OF CIVIL UNREST;
 EXTENDS 213/310 AREA CODE INTERCHANGEABLE DIALING INDEFINITELY
 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE California has announced plans to help its customers who are victims of the recent civil unrest in the greater Los Angeles area.
 The company will waive service connection charges for businesses that have been made uninhabitable by the recent violence, said Mike Crawford, vice president-general manager for GTE West Area. This should help reduce the expense of setting up shop in a new location.
 Business customers also can request remote call forwarding for one telephone line as a temporary service. However, toll charges will apply.
 "Business customers who are victims of civil unrest have many issues to deal with," Crawford said. "By waiving connection charges for new service, GTE hopes to make life a little easier for area businesses, help them stay in touch with their customers and help get them back on their feet as quickly as possible."
 For residential customers, GTE will transfer telephone service (limited to one telephone number) from an uninhabitable location to a new location at no charge. To be eligible, the customer must relocate within the GTE serving area.
 "GTE hopes this will ease some of the frustration and concerns customers are feeling at this time," Crawford said.
 For more information, customers should contact their local business office. The number is listed in the front of the GTE telephone directory or on the customer's bill.
 GTE urges customers who will have trouble paying bills due to the unrest to call the company's Customer Billing Centers to discuss arrangements. "We will deal in good faith with customers who have been victimized by this tragedy," Crawford said. AREA CODE SPLIT
 On another matter, GTE California has extended the interchangeable dialing period dfor the 213-310 area code split. The interchangeable period allows customers to dial either area code to successfully complete a call into area code 310. That period was to have ended at 2 a.m. Saturday.
 However, due to the civil unrest, the interchangeable period will continue until GTE California and Pacific Bell determine a new date, after the disturbances have ended.
 "Until further notice, customers can use area code 213 or 310 to reach people and businesses in the new area code," Crawford said.
 The delay should not dramatically affect customers. Customers were notified of the new area code two years ago and have had time to reprogram telecommunications equipment and update stationery and other materials. Also, businesses that delayed making necessary changes will have extra time to program their equipment. GTE DONATES EQUIPMENT TO NATIONAL GUARD
 Separately, GTE has donated a bank of cellular telephones and a fax machine to the National Guard command center.
 "This should boost communications between the National Guard and other emergency personnel," Crawford said. "I hope this can help end the unrest and let residents and businesses in the greater Los Angeles area get on with the rebuilding process." EMPLOYEE SAFETY & NETWORK STATUS
 Employee safety has been the company's top priority throughout the civil disturbances, Crawford said. Employees have been withdrawn from certain areas depending on the situation.
 As of Friday afternoon, no GTE employee had suffered any injuries due to the civil unrest.
 "Our employees have used excellent judgement," Crawford said. "They've kept themselves safe and they've kept the network up and running. Management has told all employees that if they feel uncomfortable or anxious about any situation, leave immediately."
 GTE's network has experienced extremely heavy calling volume, resulting in delayed dial tone for many customers. However, the network has functioned extremely well throughout the crisis and continues to process calls.
 There has been no significant damage to GTE's equipment or facilities, Crawford said.
 Crawford urged that people not use the telephone except in actual cases of emergency.
 GTE California, headquartered in Thousand Oaks, serves three million customers in 330 communities, mostly in Southern California.
 -0- 5/1/92
 /CONTACT: Daniel Smith or Larry Cox, GTE California, 24-hour newsline, 1-800-227-5556/ CO: GTE California ST: California IN: SU:


dm -- LA045 -- 5722 05/01/92 20:48 EDT
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Date:May 1, 1992
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