GTE to offer lower-priced, higher-speed Internet access service while accelerating deployment in 17 states. New ADSL offer goes head-to-head with Internet access over cable television lines.

IRVING, Texas - Responding to customers' soaring need for high performance in Internet access, GTE today announced that it will begin offering a very fast Internet access service for consumers priced about 20 percent lower than its current service, with a 300 percent increase in speed.

The new service will be available in early August in areas where Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is available or ready for provisioning. ADSL is a service that provides customers with high-speed digital Internet connections over their existing telephone line.

The new ADSL package, called Bronze Plus, includes Internet access provided by GTE.net, the company's national Internet service provider (ISP) at transmission speeds up to 768 kilobits per second (kbps) x 128 kbps access for $49.95. In other words, Bronze Plus subscribers can download a two-minute videoclip more than 26 times faster than they could with a 28.8 kbps dial-up modem.

"As the Internet becomes increasingly important in delivering information, education and entertainment, our customers will want a service that is high-speed, 'always on' and lets them send and receive lots of content instantaneously," said Paul R. Gudonis, president - GTE Internetworking. "ADSL gives them the bandwidth they are craving, and makes getting information from the Internet more convenient than ever before."

Gudonis added, "GTE is a leader in providing Internet services via ADSL, and the new Bronze Plus offer with its increased speed and more competitive price will pave the way for us to build upon our momentum."

Faster Deployment of GTE's ADSL Services

ADSL carries information more than 50 times faster than traditional dial-up modems, and allows users to make traditional voice phone calls and surf the Internet at the same time over existing telephone lines. To accelerate availability of ADSL, GTE has increased the number of central offices or switching centers where the service is offered to 508, up from 333 at the end of 1998.

By the end of the year, GTE Network Services' underlying ADSL facilities will be available from more than 550 central offices, representing, 6.1 million qualified lines that are located within approximately three miles of those provisioned offices.

GTE Network Services, the company's incumbent local exchange carrier, currently offers ADSL in 35 markets in portions of 17 states including California, Texas, Florida, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Indiana and North Carolina. Roughly 60 percent of GTE's local phone customers live or work in areas where service is available, and the company continues to expand its ADSL footprint.

ADSL's Strengths Over Cable Modems

ADSL also offers significant advantages over other broadband alternatives such as cable modems and is now comparable in price. In addition to being "always-on," ADSL provides subscribers with a more secure, dedicated line to their telephone central office - rather than sharing the line with multiple users in their neighborhoods as is generally the case with cable modems. Additionally, unlike "closed access" cable modems, GTE's ADSL service offers customers the flexibility to choose from multiple ISPs. Thus, for most of GTE's ADSL customers, they do not have to give up or pay twice for their preferred ISP, as occurs with cable modems.

"Some of our customers have expressed concern about the security risks associated with cable modems where an entire neighborhood may share the same network," said Doug Fulp, assistant vice president of GTE's ADSL Program Management Office. "With our new Bronze Plus package, we can meet the 'always on,' bandwidth-intensive needs of not only avid Internet users, but first-time PC buyers who want to capitalize on the Internet. ADSL provides consumers with online freedom and is having a profound impact on their quality of life in the way that fax machines altered the way people sent information before the emergence of e-mail."

GTE ADSL Service Available From Multiple ISPs

GTE Network Services' ADSL service is available to multiple ISPs. The new Bronze Plus ADSL service can be obtained by an ISP for $32.50. In turn, customers who order ADSL directly from an ISP other than GTE Internetworking will be charged $32.50, plus their ISP's charge for Internet access. Term and volume discounts are available.

Currently, more than 200 regional ISPs provide service using GTE's ADSL facilities -- the industry's largest and most flexible ADSL offer via ISPs. A list of ISPs that sell ADSL service from GTE is available at http://www.gte.com/dsl/partisp.html.

Consumers Speak-Out

Results from recent focus groups of GTE customers revealed that most business and residential customers use their ADSL connections to upload and download files, send and receive email, conduct online research, play online games, maintain their own Web sites, and online chatting.

Customers also indicated that they had a more productive Internet experience than they had with their standard dial-up modems. And when asked to discuss how ADSL service compares to slower-speed dial-up modems, GTE customers said it was like "driving a car to walking," "a new jaguar to a bicycle with an old chain" and "a rocket to the Wright Brothers' plane."

Unlike recently introduced "on-demand" ADSL offers, GTE's mix of ADSL packages are "always-on" with dedicated connections to the Internet, providing a sense of freedom from the shackles of sharing ADSL modems with multiple users.

Pricing Plans

In addition to the $49.95 monthly rate, Bronze Plus customers in California, Florida, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas and Washington can take advantage of GTE Network Services' ongoing $99 installation special, which covers the purchase of a modem normally $199 and installation (ranges from $60 to $140). Existing ADSL customers can switch to the Bronze Plus package for a $35 fee. GTE offers five other ADSL packages with speeds up to 1.5 Mbps. Prices range from $60 to $420 per month. For more specific information on GTE's entire ADSL service offerings, visit http://www.gte.com/aboutgte/docs/adslserviceofferings.html.

About GTE

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.