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Category: 

Telecommunications

Date: 

1998-06-15 07:44:36

Subject: 

AT&T's Deadline: 12/31/98

  Link:

http://www.nj.com/business/ledger/stories/83ed70.html

Comment: 

The great thing about the December 31, 1998 deadline to complete code remediation, which has been announced by company after company, is that it offers people a reason to go into panic in the first week of January, 1999. That way, they may possibly be able to get out of the way of the falling dominoes in time. Most people won't, of course, but you might.

There is no possibility that all of these firms will meet the announced dealine. There are not enough programmers to do it. So, on January 1, 1999, you should have your letter to every company in the mail. It should include a photocopy of the firm's previous letter to you announcing the deadline of 12/31, and it should ask: "Have you begun testing, as you promosed?"

You will get no answer or else a form letter saying, "There has been a delay. Nevertheless, we're confident that. . . ." That will tell you what you suspect intellectually now but may be unwilling to accept psychologically: all the promises are just PR. There is no solution to this problem.

You will have no excuse for further procrastination by the second week of January, 1999.

We learn here that AT&T relies heavily on the regional Bell phone companies. Notice the AT&T representative's reason for believing the Bell companies will make their deadlines: he can't imagine that they won't. ''I can't help but believe that your big exchange carriers are plugged into this," he said. "It's beyond my ability to fathom that they aren't actively involved to update their networks." That is to say, he doesn't know, has no evidence, and is content to remain in ignorance.

Approximately 6 billion other people are just like him.

How about you?

This is from the New Jersey STAR-LEDGER (June 13).

* * * * * * * * *

The company set a June 30, 1999, deadline for solving millennium computer glitches, and will complete the bulk of the work by the end of this year, said Dave Johnson, a spokesman for the company's network and computing services. That puts AT&T ahead of most companies and governmental agencies. . . .

AT&T began assembling a Year 2000 team two years ago to ensure that long-distance calls would not be affected by the bug and to protect its internal billing, payroll and vendor records, Johnson said. Some employees were assigned for three-year stints, and sub-teams were created in each office.

The stepped-up effort isn't cheap. The company spent $117 million last year and has budgeted $350 million this year, Johnson said. No budget has been set for 1999 yet, but with fine-tuning and system tests scheduled throughout the year, it's conceivable that total expenditures could exceed the $500 million mark.

Only about 20 percent of AT&T's Worldwide Intelligent Network required software updates, Johnson said. The most vulnerable items were the company's high-capacity switches, signal transfer points, switches and routers for Internet service, and data transmission lines.

AT&T relies on the regional Bell companies to hand off its long-distance calls, because the latter control almost all of the access lines that hook into homes and businesses. But Johnson said he didn't expect any problems from unprepared local networks. AT&T has come up with a simple strategy to rid itself of the Year 2000 computer bug: Set the clock ahead six months.

The company set a June 30, 1999, deadline for solving millennium computer glitches, and will complete the bulk of the work by the end of this year, said Dave Johnson, a spokesman for the company's network and computing services. That puts AT&T ahead of most companies and governmental agencies.

''This is one due date that can't slip," Johnson said. "When it gets here, it gets here. So you better be ready."

Much of the software written for business and personal computers in the past two decades lists dates with only two digits for a given year -- 98, for example, instead of 1998. That creates the potential for a huge problem on New Year's Day in 2000. Microprocessors that haven't been fixed will read the date as Jan. 1, 00, and could interpret it as the year 1900 or fail to recognize it at all.

AT&T began assembling a Year 2000 team two years ago to ensure that long-distance calls would not be affected by the bug and to protect its internal billing, payroll and vendor records, Johnson said. Some employees were assigned for three-year stints, and sub-teams were created in each office.

The stepped-up effort isn't cheap. The company spent $117 million last year and has budgeted $350 million this year, Johnson said. No budget has been set for 1999 yet, but with fine-tuning and system tests scheduled throughout the year, it's conceivable that total expenditures could exceed the $500 million mark.

Only about 20 percent of AT&T's Worldwide Intelligent Network required software updates, Johnson said. The most vulnerable items were the company's high-capacity switches, signal transfer points, switches and routers for Internet service, and data transmission lines.

AT&T relies on the regional Bell companies to hand off its long-distance calls, because the latter control almost all of the access lines that hook into homes and businesses. But Johnson said he didn't expect any problems from unprepared local networks.

''I can't help but believe that your big exchange carriers are plugged into this," he said. "It's beyond my ability to fathom that they aren't actively involved to update their networks."

Link: 

http://www.nj.com/business/ledger/stories/83ed70.html

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