GTE plans to compete with cable providers for Ventura County television viewers sometime this year, officials said.
Pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission, the telephone company hopes to begin construction of its local cable network in two months.
GTE also plans to challenge cable companies in Florida and Hawaii.
To that end, the communications giant awarded AT&T; a $200-million contract earlier this week to build its cable television system.
Officials would not predict how much the basic cable service would cost but said they will be able to provide much of the same programming offered by local cable carriers.
"We will offer a competitive service," AT&T; spokesman Roger Frizzell said.
GTE officials said they hope to break into 66 cable markets over the next 10 years.