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GTE CHAIRMAN JOHNSON SAYS TELEPHONE COMPANIES MUST BE ALLOWED TO PROVIDE VIDEO SERVICES SO U.S. CAN REMAIN COMPETITIVE IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS

GTE CHAIRMAN JOHNSON SAYS TELEPHONE COMPANIES MUST BE ALLOWED TO PROVIDE

VIDEO SERVICES SO U.S. CAN REMAIN COMPETITIVE IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS
 HONOLULU, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Unless it develops a national telecommunications policy, America could be years behind its competitors, said GTE (NYSE: GTE) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James L. "Rocky" Johnson today in the keynote speech at the United States Telephone Association's (USTA) annual convention here.
 "We should continue to move in the direction of a national telecommunications policy based on the idea that telecommunications providers should have access to all technologies and all markets," Johnson said. He asked the USTA membership to use its powerful voice "combined with individual efforts" to assure Americans of the best public network in the world.
 "Japan and other nations have made national commitments to accelerate network modernization," he said. "Unless we undertake a similar all-out effort, we are taking a tremendous risk. In today's global information-oriented economy, a broadband public network is more than a matter of national pride. It is an essential strategic tool in highly competitive markets."
 Johnson asked the group to support current legislative and regulatory proposals, which would eliminate the telco/cable cross- ownership ban, allowing telephone companies to provide video services in their operating areas.
 "The means for ending that barrier to competition is at hand in several proposals before Congress," Johnson said. "All of them recognize the linkage between lifting the cross-ownership ban restrictions and the pace of network improvements."
 Incentive to Install Fiber Optics
 Describing the issue as one "primarily of economics, not technology," Johnson said that replacing the current copper network -- worth billions of dollars -- is a very expensive undertaking. But, allowing telephone companies to compete in the cable-television business would "afford telephone companies the opportunity to compete, which is all we've ever asked."
 Johnson, who has worked in the telecommunications industry for more than 40 years, said: "There is no reason for dividing Americans into telecommunications 'haves' and 'have-nots.' The basis for the 'telco vision' of the future is a broadband network available to all. It would reach out to urban, suburban and rural communities alike. It would offer a variety of advanced services to residential and business customers."
 Competition Brings Tremendous Public Benefit
 Explaining that the public would benefit from such a competitive environment, Johnson said: "Independent programming would flourish...People would have access to new services and the power to choose what they want when they want it. This is what the telephone industry is advocating."
 "We need a national commitment to maintain the leadership we have long enjoyed in communications, a leadership that has been of great benefit to the country. This industry, in concert with federal and state regulators, has provided the United States with telecommunications second to none in the world," Johnson concluded. "Now we must redouble our efforts to assure that the level of excellence achieved in telecommunications is not squandered or compromised."
 GTE subsidiaries operate in 48 states and 41 countries, with combined revenues and sales of $21.4 billion and net income of $1.7 billion in 1990. GTE's telephone operations comprise the largest U.S.- based local telephone company in the country.
 -0- 11/4/91
 /CONTACT: Dorea Akers, 203-965-3188, or after 6 p.m., 203-968-2360, or Tony Hamilton, 203-965-2853, or after 6 p.m., 203-327-2162, both of GTE/
 (GTE) CO: GTE ST: Connecticut IN: TLS SU: KD -- NY072 -- 0841 11/04/91 15:39 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 4, 1991
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