GTE Chairman Praises Federal Communications Commission for Preserving Universal Service by Approving CALLS Plan

WASHINGTON - Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a telephone-pricing plan that incorporates key elements of a proposal developed by the Coalition for Affordable Local and Long Distance Service (CALLS). GTE, along with other leading local and long-distance companies, is a member of CALLS.

The following may be attributed to Charles R. Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of GTE Corp.

GTE congratulates the FCC for taking action today that will significantly boost competition in the telecommunications market and benefit consumers.

By establishing a new structure for federal access charges, the Commission's ruling is a giant step toward ultimately solving the pervasive problem of implicit subsidies preventing local phone competition.

GTE has long recognized that the traditional system of implicit subsidies that has ensured everyone receives affordable, high-quality telephone service would not work in an increasingly competitive environment. We joined a group of companies to shape an alternative, the CALLS proposal, that attempted to blend what has worked in the past to create "universal service" with what is demanded by the future.

We are very pleased that the Commission's ruling today adopts major elements of the Coalition's plan and begins to strike the balance intended by the Act between the obligation to provide "universal service" and the freedom to compete.