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GTE CALIFORNIA BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF 'INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY,' GIVING ACCESS TO WORLD'S FASTEST DIGITAL TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS

 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE California announced plans to install advanced fiber-optic technology and build "information superhighways" between 42 communities, giving customers access to the world's fastest digital transmission systems.
 The initiative includes the installation of at least 16 major fiber- optic rings and dozens of smaller rings during the next three years. One major Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) ring already is in service in the Ontario Airport area. Additional SONET rings will be installed in the Santa Monica/West L.A., Mid-Cities, South Coast and Long Beach regions.
 SONET is an international transmission standard for carrying light signals over fiber-optic cable. It allows different equipment to connect with unprecedented accuracy and customer control. SONET rings form complete loops between switching equipment and customer locations.
 "GTE has been installing fiber technology in California for years, but today's announcement marks our most aggressive efforts yet to build an `information highway' in California," said John Appel, vice president-general manager for GTE California.
 The California project's approximate value is $80 million. "This is an addition to our previously announced plans to invest $460 million in 1993, to upgrade and extend California's telecommunications network," Appel said.
 SONET's biggest advantages are ultra-high transmission speeds and self-healing capabilities -- both critical elements for "information highways." The rings will form continuous loops that offer services such as interactive videoconferencing, the most advanced data transmission capabilities and, eventually, video on demand.
 The rings can transmit information at rates up to 2.488 billion bits per second. At that rate, GTE's SONET rings could transmit the 500-page novel "The Firm" in slightly more than two seconds. By contrast, a typical high-speed data circuit would take about an hour to transmit the book, and a typical voice channel would take almost a day.
 In addition, the SONET rings will dramatically improve network reliability. The "self-healing" rings can automatically reroute transmissions in as little as 60 milliseconds, giving GTE customers uninterrupted service if cables or equipment are damaged at any point on the rings.
 "One of the great things about SONET, in addition to its speed and reliability, is its capacity to adapt to the future," said Alice Furuya, manager-planning for GTE. "SONET is flexible enough to handle new transmission demands that are only being dreamed of today."
 GTE is the first independent telephone company in the nation -- and the first company of any kind in California -- to install advanced SONET technology. GTE California also was the nation's first phone company to use fiber optics to carry telephone calls, and the first in California to build fiber rings.
 GTE completed a SONET field trial in May using a 50-mile ring linking the cities of Ontario, Pomona, Covina and La Puente, Calif. The ring marks the first of a five-ring network planned for the Ontario Airport area, east of downtown Los Angeles.
 When the Ontario network is complete, more than 20 central offices and more than 100 customer sites will be linked by SONET fiber optic rings. In all, the five airport-area rings will serve approximately 700,000 telephone access lines at businesses, schools and residences.
 "The development of the fiber-optic rings will offer Ontario International Airport many different options to help the airport better serve its 6 million annual passengers," said Dennis Watson, community and public relations manager for Ontario International Airport. "A special passenger information radio station is one of those options, together with telephone and radio communications."
 The rings in California are part of GTE Telephone Operations' plans to build at least 50 SONET rings during the next two years in California, Dallas-Fort Worth; Honolulu; Tampa, Fla.; Everett, Wash.; Beaverton, Ore.; Erie and York, Pa.; Bloomington, Ill.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Branson, Mo. Additional rings will be announced in the future.
 Nationwide, GTE's investment in SONET electronics will be approximately $170 million during the next three years. Including fiber optic lines, the total infrastructure investment for this project will exceed $240 million.
 GTE has selected AT&T Network Systems as its primary vendor for SONET ring equipment. The contract includes AT&T's high-speed FT-2000 OC-48, and DDM-2000 OC-3 and OC-12 SONET Lightwave Systems.
 "GTE is emerging as an industry leader in the use of SONET systems," said Steve Smith, sales vice president for AT&T. "GTE's SONET rings will differentiate its network from competitive access providers by offering a potent combination of cost savings, increased efficiency and advanced capabilities."
 GTE California, based in Thousand Oaks, serves 3.1 million customers in 330 communities, mostly in Southern California. The company is a division of GTE Telephone Operations, the largest U.S.-based local telephone company.
 -0- 6/15/93
 /CONTACT: Dan Smith of GTE California, 800-227-5556/


CO: GTE California ST: California IN: TLS SU:

BP-JB -- LA002 -- 1936 06/15/93 08:02 EDT
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Date:Jun 15, 1993
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