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GTE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO RESTORE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE ON KAUAI

 GTE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO RESTORE
 TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE ON KAUAI
 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Ever since Hurricane Iniki battered the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, GTE Hawaiian Tel employees have been working night and day to restore telephone service and help island residents.
 Telephone communications between Kauai and other islands were disrupted at 1 p.m. HST last Friday as winds from Hurricane Iniki reached gusts of 175 mph.
 "We're grateful that our employees and their immediate families made it through Hurricane Iniki," said GTE Hawaiian Tel President Warren Haruki. "We do know, however, that our employees and customers of Kauai and some who live on Oahu have suffered tremendous losses. We are putting considerable effort into bringing some direct relief to those areas. I've asked supervisors to allow employees who suffered damage to their homes to take some time off to take care of their homes as well as other critical needs their families might have."
 GTE Hawaiian Tel air-shipped portable phone banks for island residents who are temporarily without telephone service. GTE Hawaiian Tel is providing Kauai residents with free interisland calling through GTE Sunday, Sept. 20.
 GTE chartered a DC-8 transport plane to bring supplies from the mainland to Kauai.
 A nationwide relief fund has been established throughout GTE. Drives are also being conducted to collect clothing and non- perishable items.
 Employees are volunteering to help at the Hawaii Foodbank. "We know they need assistance, and we're willing to do anything," said Jill Hayami, GTE Administrative Support manager.
 Telephone Restoral Efforts
 The hurricane damaged the microwave towers, crippling telephone service for the island of Kauai. One microwave tower had been repaired by Sunday, Sept. 13, allowing about one-third of Kauai's telephone customers to make outgoing calls. Where lines remained intact, calls could be made in local exchange areas served by each of the eight central offices on the island.
 The central offices -- which house the switching facilities that handle telephone calls -- survived Hurricane Iniki in good shape. They remain on emergency generators because of the damage to outside facilities.
 "Our switching centers on Kauai withstood the storm, but Hurricane Iniki did damage to some of the facilities that connect the central switching offices to each other," said Mike Crawford, vice president and general manager for GTE west area, which includes GTE Hawaiian Tel. "While there was no major damage to the telephone network, there was major damage to outside facilities, such as the lines that connect individual customers to the network. We are facing a large task of restoring all the individual lines that were knocked out of service. Technicians are in the field around the clock working on repairing lines for individual customers.
 "The interisland links that connect Kauai to the other islands also were damaged in the storm, blocking communications coming to and from Kauai," Crawford said.
 At 5 a.m. HST Saturday, GTE Hawaiian Tel used Army Black Hawk helicopters to transport employees to Kauai to establish radio communications with Oahu. An earlier arrival was prohibited since the condition of Kauai's airport was unknown and there was no commercial electrical power.
 Once radio communications were established on Kauai, the GTE team assessed damage to the telephone network and the microwave tower that serves the island.
 The team determined that new equipment must be installed. The necessary equipment was gathered from various GTE facilities and vendors, and arrived in Hawaii on Monday.
 By late Sunday, 41 percent of the normal two-way telecommunications capacity between Oahu and Kauai had been restored.
 "The good news is that many trunks have been restored and communications are open between Kauai and the rest of the world," Crawford said. "But the extensive damage to telephone poles and the lines that connect businesses and residences means many individual customers remain without telephone service."
 "The problem," said Clarke Erskine, GTE General Operations manager, "is that we have an awful lot of interoffice trunking down -- pole lines are down and cables are on the road."
 At this time, approximately half the island's 30,000 lines are working.
 "Despite employees' personal tragedies," Erskine said, "they're still out there working. I've seen how hard our personnel are working and learned that some of our employees have moved in the Lihue Base Yard (on Kauai) because they have no homes to go back to," said Erskine.
 Emergency service agencies have priority as individual lines are repaired. However, Kauai residents who have no telephone service can use coin phones or other working telephones to contact friends and loved ones. Two emergency banks have been installed near the Lihue Central Office. Additional emergency banks are being installed.
 GTE has made arrangements with AT&T, MCI and Sprint so Kauai residents can make free international long-distance calls to the mainland through Sept. 20 on the emergency banks. Calls are limited to three minutes. GTE Hawaiian Tel is offering free interisland calling through Sept. 20.
 "We have secured air transportation that will be available full time to GTE Hawaiian Tel to transport supplies and materials to Kauai," Crawford said. "We've established contacts between Hawaii and GTE facilities in California to assist the mobilization efforts. If necessary, we will fly employees from California and other GTE territories to facilitate the relief effort."
 Crawford said communications on other islands were restored and operating normally, though damage to individual telephone lines was being repaired as quickly as possible. On Oahu, many telephone poles suffered extensive damage as the hurricane passed.
 By Sunday, calls from other islands and the mainland were reaching Kauai. However, the public was advised to expect dramatically slower call-response times. Approximately one in every three calls was being completed on Monday.
 "It's appropriate for us to thank our customers for their support and understanding these past few days," Haruki said. "The media deserves acknowledgement as well as for the support they've lent our Public Affairs department as we've tried to keep the public informed with each update on the status of our restoration efforts."
 GTE Hawaiian Tel established a media center next to the Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center on Kauai. The center is equipped with phone lines and fax machines to assist local and national media.
 Busy Year for Emergency Operations
 As the storm approached late last week, GTE activated emergency operations centers in Honolulu and in Thousand Oaks, headquarters for GTE West Area, which includes GTE Hawaiian Tel. Hurricane Iniki marked the third time GTE West Area has gone on emergency status this year.
 "I've got to give a lot of credit to West Area employees for handling some major crises in 1992," said West Area President Larry Sparrow. "The damage from Hurricane Iniki comes on the heels of the Los Angeles civil disturbances last spring and the 7.4-magnitude Joshua Tree earthquake, which was centered in our service territory. In every instance, employees have worked long hours and have done what it takes to keep the telecommunications network operating."
 GTE Hawaiian Tel, a wholly owned subsidiary of GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE), offers local telephone service throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
 -0- 9/18/92
 /CONTACT: Dan Smith or Mike Murray of GTE California, 24-hour Newsline, 800-227-5556; or John Wallace of GTE Telops, 214-718-4015; or Carol Huff of GTE Hawaiian Tel, 808-546-4836/
 (GTE) CO: GTE California; GTE Hawaiian Tel ST: Hawaii, California IN: TLS SU:


LS-AL -- LA021 -- 1346 09/18/92 18:07 EDT
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