Northwest NEWS

April 17, 2000

Editorial

GTE offers clarification

   GTE would like to offer clarification regarding the service problems our GTE customers in Duvall are currently experiencing. The recent service problems are a symptom of an "office relief" that was delayed by King County's permitting process.

   In February of last year, GTE applied to King County for a permit to do a simple 600-square-foot expansion to our switching office in west Duvall. The building expansion was planned to allow for the installation of additional switching equipment to accommodate growth in the area. The project, originally scheduled for mid-year completion in 1999, is now on target for mid-April.

   GTE offered to pay for an independent review of our plans in the interest of saving county staff time, keeping the project on schedule, and avoiding customer service impacts. That offer was not accepted by the county, and the permit issuance took 10 months. Once the permit was granted, GTE began its work.

   By late fall, Duvall customers began to experience delayed dial tone during high-usage times. Were a customer to stay on the line, dial tone would eventually come as other callers drop off the network. The situation is aggravated when a customer repeatedly hangs up because the telephone network recognizes each click of the hook switch as a request to "set up" a call.

   We are working aggressively to complete expansion by mid-April. We apologize for the inconvenience and we regret the unfortunate delay. Our goal is to consistently provide outstanding service.

   Customers with questions or concerns are encouraged to call the GTE Customer Contact Center at:

Stephanie Pearson, Acting Regional President, GTE Northwest