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1998-06-12 17:48:46


Government Worries About Phone Systems



Recent testimony by the head of the Federal Communications Commission make it clear that the government is worried.

A telecommunications disruption could bankrupt small businesses, says the head of the FCC.

What it could do to the banking system, he prudently left unstated.

This is from Alta Vista's site.

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Federal officials are making it known that the Year 2000 bug could cripple the foundation of the telecommunications industry globally and plunge the world into economic, political and technological chaos.

Speaking before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Federal Communications Commission Chairman William E. Kennard may have said it best: "What we do know is that every company, every government agency, and every organization that has looked into the (Y2K) problem has found that it is more complicated, more serious, and more costly than originally estimated." . . .

Highly computerized telephone networks were another trouble spot. Industry experts predict more than half of the major U.S. carriers will experience at least one failure of a mission critical system because of a Y2K problem. With computers running everything from billing systems to transmission line maintenance, the possibilities of error are enormous.

Kennard further warned: "if we have major network outages due to Year 2000, many small-and medium-sized businesses could find themselves in dire economic straits. Many must rely on only one telecommunications carrier. So if their phone network or their data network goes out, they have to close down. And many small businesses don't have large reserves, so if the problem persists for a few days, they could be out of business." . . .

The FCC believes that foreign telecommunications companies, especially those in developing countries in Africa and Asia, will have difficulty providing service on Jan. 1, 2000. According to Kennard, "this could have a huge impact on international trade, foreign investment, the global economy and even national security…these countries are only now becoming aware of the Year 2000 problem and they lack the resources to fully address it.'"

The FCC has no legal authority to force Y2K compliance on any manufacturer or service provider. Its primary role is to motivate the private sector to take responsible action. As such, the FCC has mounted a vigorous information and awareness campaign for the public and private sector.


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