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GTE Plans to Offer High-Speed Internet Services

April 13, 1998|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Telecommunications giant GTE Corp. plans today to announce that it will offer high-speed Internet services in 16 states, including California, and buy about $100 million of equipment over the next three years from Japan's Fujitsu and partner Orckit Communications.

The move is just the latest as telephone and cable companies rush to invade one another's territories since the 1996 deregulation of telecommunications.

Phone companies are racing against cable operators to deliver faster interactive services to customers. Cable companies such as Comcast Corp. have tried to tempt customers with cable modems and high-speed Internet access. GTE's cable system has been available to viewers in some parts of Ventura County.

For its online service, GTE will offer asymmetric digital subscriber line, or ADSL. These modems work by splitting voice and data calls on the same phone line so a customer can send faxes or hook up to the Internet and still make regular voice calls without needing two phone lines.

"They're making a bold move into the high-speed data market," said John Hunter, an analyst for consultant Tele-Choice Inc. "There are a lot of people out there who want these services."

GTE estimates the U.S. data-services market will rise to $400 billion a year in sales by 2005 from about $100 billion in 1995.

The Stamford, Conn.-based company expects to make the ADSL service, which will cost $30 to $250 a month depending on customers' needs, available in 30 markets by the end of the year.

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