Bell Canada has admitted in its annual report that it is dependent on third-party suppliers. If these should not be compliant in 2000, Bell Canada could be materially affected.
The report does not say how many suppliers it has. It does not say how many are compliant. I can guess the answers: "several thousand" and "none."
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The Year 2000 Issue could impact most operations of BCE Inc. and its subsidiaries (BCE Group) including the network of BCE Group telecommunications companies, the products and services provided to its customers, and the BCE Group's office computer systems and support activities.
The BCE Group has determined that it will be required to modify or replace significant portions of its software so that its computer systems will properly utilize dates beyond December 31, 1999. The BCE Group presently believes that with modifications to existing software and conversions to new software, the Year 2000 Issue can be mitigated. However, if such modifications and conversions are not made, or are not completed on a timely basis, the Year 2000 Issue could have a material impact on the operations of the BCE Group. . . .
Bell Canada plans to have its business critical and customer affecting systems, applications and network elements assessed and converted to address Year 2000 issues by the end of October 1998 after which Bell Canada plans to complete testing of such systems, applications and network elements to ensure that they are Year 2000 compliant when required for use. . . .
The BCE Group has commenced formal communications with its significant suppliers and large customers to determine the extent to which the BCE Group is vulnerable to those third parties' failure to remediate their own Year 2000 Issue. However, there can be no assurance that the products or systems of other companies which the BCE Group or its customers utilize or on which they rely will be converted in a timely and effective manner, or that a failure to convert by another company, or a conversion that is incompatible with the BCE Group systems, would not have a material adverse effect on the BCE Group or its customers. . . .
The total Year 2000 project costs are estimated at approximately $600 million over the 1997 to 1999 period, of which $200 million, related to network elements and new systems platforms, will be capitalized in accordance with existing practices.