America Online and GTE Partner to Bring Broadband DSL Service to AOL Members

AOL to Offer Members in GTE Regions High-Speed Connectivity Via GTE's ADSL Service

DULLES, VA and IRVING, Texas - America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), the world's leading interactive services company, and GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE), a leading telecommunications provider, today announced an alliance to meet consumers' growing demand for high-speed Internet access.

To create greater availability of asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) service, the two companies have teamed up to bring ADSL to AOL members wherever GTE offers its ADSL service. GTE currently provides ADSL in parts of 17 states across the U.S., including Washington, Oregon, California, Florida, Hawaii and Texas as well as 11 others. The multi-year deal is part of both companies' continuing efforts to provide customers with value-added services, including high-speed Internet access.

Under the multi-year agreement, GTE, which expects to have approximately four million ADSL loop-qualified homes within its services areas by the end of 1999, will provide AOL with "always-on" ADSL connectivity at speeds up to 768 kilobits per second (kbps), more than 26 times faster than the standard 28.8 kbps modems. This means AOL subscribers will be able to download videoclips, heavy graphics and other online multimedia quickly and easily over their existing telephone line.

Since launching the industry's first data-oriented ADSL trial in 1996, GTE has built upon its technological expertise in providing customers with high-speed Internet services to offer one of the nation's largest deployments of ADSL. GTE Network Services, consisting of the company's incumbent local exchange carrier, also has the most central offices, or switching centers provisioned for DSL - currently 508.

In addition to its high-speed Internet connection, ADSL also provides:

  • "Always-on" connections - unlike standard dial-up Internet access, ADSL gives users a dedicated connection to the Internet. With the click of an icon they're off and running.
  • The ability to use their computer at the same time as a telephone or fax over a single phone line;
  • Assurance of consistently high-speed access because ADSL dedicates a broadband connection to each individual user; and
  • Broadband-enhanced multimedia and other services.

America Online will announce pricing for GTE's ADSL access when the rollout begins. The ADSL upgrade is expected to cost AOL members approximately $20 extra per month.

"GTE and AOL have clearly demonstrated that our number-one priority is giving customers the most enjoyable Internet experience possible, and this agreement re-emphasizes that dedication," said John Appel, president, GTE Network Services. "The tremendous speed and 'always on' access that ADSL offers will enable AOL members to surf the 'net like never before."

Bob Pittman, President and COO of America Online, Inc., said, "Our goal is to deliver on the promise of the interactive medium and help make broadband access a reality for the mass market consumer. We are pleased to work with a telecommunications leader like GTE to provide ADSL technology to AOL members who want access to a high-speed feature. We now have relationships with companies which provide services to approximately 65% of all US households."

GTE Network Services currently offers ADSL in 35 markets in portions of the following 17 states: California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. By the end of this year, GTE Network Services expects to make ADSL available from more than 550 central offices.

With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is a leading telecommunications provider with one of the industry's broadest arrays of products and services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 17 states, as well as nationwide long-distance, directory, and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies. Outside the United States, the company serves customers on five continents. Additional information about GTE can be obtained at http://www.gte.com.

Founded in 1985, America Online, Inc., based in Dulles, Virginia, is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies, and e-commerce services. America Online, Inc. operates: two worldwide Internet services, America Online, with more than 17 million members, and CompuServe, with approximately 2 million members; several leading Internet brands including ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger and Digital City, Inc.; the Netscape Netcenter and AOL.COM portals; the Netscape Navigator and Communicator browsers; AOL MovieFone, the nation's # 1 movie listing guide and ticketing service; and Spinner Networks and NullSoft, Inc., leaders in Internet music. Through its strategic alliance with Sun Microsystems, the Company develops and offers easy-to-deploy, end-to-end e-commerce and enterprise solutions for companies operating in the Net Economy.

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