If the phone systems go down, Western civilization goes down. We are dependent on phones for data communications and just about everything else. Phones, water, and electrical power: without these, we're dead. Literally.
What about the phones? Are they Year 2000-compliant? No. They should be. The fact that the phone companies waited this long indicates that they did not grasp the magnitude of either the threat or the repair problem. Now they are playing catch-up. With the West's future at stake, this delay is without any legitimate excuse that I can think of. This should have been taken care of a decade ago.
Notice the estimate for AT&T: 500 million lines of code to survey, with perhaps 50 million lines to repair. (COMPUTERWORLD, Nov. 11, 1996)
Social Security has been working on its repair since 1991. It has 30 million lines to check, and a fraction of these to correct. As of June, 1996, the 400 programmers had completed 6 million lines of checking. But AT&T has 25 million to 50 million lines that actually need corrections.
Sprint has 100 million lines. As for MCI, we don't know. The article says that MCI refused to discuss its year 2000 plans.
The article reported:
``This is a problem of gigantic dimensions and with so many complexities that it's very hard to think something will not slip,'' said Bichlien Hoang, executivedirector of year 2000 network solutions at Bellcore, a telecommunications software, engineering and consulting firm in Morristown, N.J.