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Summary and Comments

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1997-10-07 08:57:00


Where Are the Telecoms Today? Behind


This October 3 posting from Karl Feilder on Peter de Jager's discussion forum describes the problem. Feilder is a PC specialist. He speaks around the world.

On the allocation of resources necessary to complete a y2k repair task, see the California White Paper.

* * * * * * * *

1. British Telecom is still in not prepared to guarantee that the UK phone system will operate uninterrupted into 2000. They have been working on the problem for at least 2 years, and have imho [in my humble opinion] hundreds ofstaff directly or indirectly involved in the project. I believe that their public stated figure is about 500 million US dollars, but I have been told that the realistic number is a lot higher but will be covered by existing IT expenditure.

2. Australia's leading Telephone provider, Telstra has this week increased it's publicly stated figure from 80 million US dollars to 400 million US dollars. They started after British Telecom, but I have seen that they are well underway.

3. South Africa's Telkom (still operated as a government monopoly) started only recently (by their own admission "a comprehensive company-wide year 2000 compliance project was launched in Telkom during January 1997 ") and I think have still not understood the significance of the task before them - "Telkom's technology component suppliers have been contacted to obtain compliance certification and some have already responded. No major risks are foreseen at this stage and all indications are that the individual projects will complete within the scheduled time scales."

How does this ring true ? If SA Telkom has "no major risks" why is the UK and Australia spending about 1 BILLION US dollars on something that has no major risks ? For fun ? I don't think so.

4. I recently spoke to one of the baby Bell telephone companies in the US. Their year 2000 team told me that they have about 50,000 PCs, a CFO who does not believe the problem is a large as everyone is expecting, and definitely NO BUDGET to even start inventory until 1998.

If they start inventory in 1998, and BT started in 1995 and is still not sure if they will make it, when will this Baby Bell be ready ? Even with a following wind you might conclude 2002. Or else they will do a half - job .

OK, so which half of your telephone services would you like to give up ? Home telephones ? Business lines ? Fax services ? Maybe just the internet stuff ? If this company has 50,000 PCs internally , HOW MANY CUSTOMERS DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE ??

5. One of the large banks told me that if they lose ONE, just ONE, of their major telephone exchanges, they will not be able to trade.

6. The English speaking world is ahead in global awareness and action. This is my league table based on 550,000 miles traveled in the last 18 months :

United States

United Kingdom



New Zealand


South Africa



So if these countries are ahead in awareness and action, and behind in fixing their telephones, what do YOU conclude about global business ?

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