GTE to add 1,000 Microsoft employees to high-speed Internet access trial in Redmond

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- GTE announced today that it will expand its high-speed Internet access and remote office connectivity trial involving Microsoft Corp. by 1,000 employees, making it the largest trial of its kind in the world. The new trial participants will be added over the next several months. A decision as to what equipment will be used to support the expanded Microsoft trial will be made at a later date.

In addition, GTE said that it has launched two additional high-speed Internet access trials using Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) technology involving Duke University, Durham, N.C. and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

"ADSL is alive and well," said Lew Wilks, president-business markets for GTE. "We are taking these major steps to ensure that the full promise of ADSL can soon be delivered to the nation's workplaces, home offices and schools, bringing about dramatic improvements in the way people use the Internet for business, educational and leisure purposes.

"We fully expect that ADSL will do for computer users and multi-media content developers what America's national highway system did for tourism, opening new vistas and business opportunities around every bend," said Wilks.

In the previously announced Redmond, Wash. trial, begun last summer, more than 100 area businesses plus 130 employees from Microsoft and GTE have been using the lightning-fast modems for various applications including access to the Internet and private data networks using Microsoft's Windows NT-based servers. In addition, the trial includes evaluation of multiple types of ADSL systems from Westell Technologies (Aurora, Ill.) and Amati Communications (San Jose, Calif.), plus the test integration of other Microsoft products for campus office and work-at-home environments, including electronic mail, news and chat services, conferencing and electronic commerce.

"Our experience with GTE on our initial ADSL trials has been very gratifying," said Craig Mundie, senior vice president, Consumer Platforms Division at Microsoft. "The trials have been an important step for Microsoft in ensuring that our server and applications products take full advantage of the communications capabilities of ADSL. This broader roll-out is a logical next step toward commercial deployment of higher-speed access to the Internet and private data networks."

In Redmond, trial participants are using modems that transmit data "downstream" to their computers at speeds ranging from 1.5 to 6 megabits per second (Mbps), and "upstream" to GTE's switching station at speeds ranging from 64 to 384 kilobits per second (kbps).

For comparison, customers using the 4 Mbps modems can download a 60-second video clip in near real time, a task that takes almost 45 minutes using a standard 28.8 kpbs modem.

New Trials Expand GTE's ADSL Footprint

The new trials with Duke and Purdue University will further validate the feedback received from participants in the Redmond trial, and the company's first trial conducted last year in suburban Dallas, according to Wilks.

"We are convinced ADSL performs well in a traditional corporate environment, so the Duke and Purdue trials will enable us to examine how it can effectively be used for applications specific to college campuses," he said.

Collectively, the two new trials involve 70 participants, including 30 at Duke University and 40 at Purdue University. Both trials utilize modems from Westell and Amati.

"The work that we've done at Duke with GTE since last fall has demonstrated that ADSL's speed and constant connectivity provide a large, positive and qualitative change in the way that faculty, staff and students work and live," said Dave Kirby, Director of TeleHealth at Duke University Medical Center.

Editor's Note: Network diagrams that depict the network structure of each trial can be obtained by calling 972-718-6924 or 972-718-4981.

How ADSL Works

ADSL service works by connecting a pair of modems to each end of a telephone line, with one modem being located in the telephone company's central office and the other at the home or office of the user. ADSL also maximizes the use of existing technology because it operates over twisted-pair copper telephone lines, streamlining installation and controlling expenses. ADSL service is also significant in that it provides continuous Internet access unlike traditional dial-up modem connections.

ADSL, a variation of a broader mix of xDSL services, provides continuous Internet access as opposed to traditional dial-up modem connections. This creates many new types of services that benefit from the "always connected" nature of xDSL offerings.

With revenues of more than $21 billion in 1996, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. In the United States, GTE offers local and wireless service in 29 states and long-distance service in all 50 states. GTE was the first among its peers to offer "one-stop shopping" for local, long-distance and Internet access services. Additional information about GTE can be found on the Internet at http://www.gte.com.

Editor's Note: GTE will conduct a news conference during the Networld+Interop trade show at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET), Tuesday, May 6, Las Vegas Convention Center, room N-238. Reporters who wish to join the press conference via a telephone link may call 1-888-209-3774, and ask for the GTE press conference.



Additional News Media Contacts:

Amati Communications: Tac Berry, 408/879-2035, bberry@amati.com
Microsoft: Phil Missimore, 408/986-1140, philm@wagged.com
Westell Technologies: Mark Meudt, 630/375-4125, mmeud@westell.com
Duke: Nancy Jensen, 919/684-4148, jense001@mc.duke.edu