Y2K a Phone Call Away

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Y2K a Phone Call Away FCC Predicts Few Communication Disruptions

By Jeannine Aversa The Associated Press W A S H I N GT O N, March 30  The Year 2000 computer bug probably wont cause major telephone or television glitches, but people still should limit their use of phones and computer modems on Jan. 1, a government report said today. In a comprehensive analysis how the so-called Y2K problem could affect communications, the Federal Communications Commission said large companies  local telephone, long-distance, broadcast TV, radio, cable TV, satellite and wireless  are making progress to fix their systems to accommodate the year 2000. We ... are cautiously optimistic about the ability of these companies to withstand even unforeseen problems with minimum disruptions to the services they provide, the report concluded. These large companies  whether providing telephone or television services  serve most individuals and businesses. The top 20 local phone companies, for instance, provide service to more than 97 percent of all U.S. customers.

But Watch the Smaller Firms But the report said some small- and medium-sized companies are lagging in progress, largely because they lack the technical expertise and the money to make necessary changes, said FCC Commissioner Michael Powell, the agencys point person on the Y2K matter. The Y2K bugs occur because many computers programmed to recognize only the last two digits of a year wont work properly beginning Jan. 1, 2000, when machines might assume it is 1900. The FCCs goal is to make sure the quality and reliability of telephone and television services arent changed on and after Jan. 1, Powell said. The report offers tips for avoiding or minimizing disruptions, such as limiting phone and modem use on Jan. 1, saying heightened traffic volume could overtax the network.

Dont Everybody Call at Once The reason: If every person in the United States at the same time made a call on Jan. 1 just to see whether it would go through, the telephone network  which does have capacity limits  would be overloaded, resulting in busy signals and delays, said Powell and John Koskinen, chairman of the presidents council on Year 2000 conversion. As for emergency calls to 911, Powell said nothing we have seen yet suggests widespread problems. But he added: We think it prudent to expect some delays in the call processing in some systems of 911 calls. He said problems could occur if local governments, which run 911 dispatch centers, dont fix their equipment. The report also suggests that people have at least one telephone  such as a cellular phone  that doesnt require electricity and that they try to place important calls, particularly those overseas, before or after New Years Day. Countries in Central and South America, for instance, face a high risk that their telecommunications systems will experience problems, the report said. U.S. phone companies rely on foreign carriers to complete calls to those countries. Although the report said large wireless companies appear to be on track with fixes and that the Y2K problem probably wont affect satellites in orbit, it also cautioned that some companies didnt disclose their progress preparing for problems.

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

-- Norm (nwo@hotmail.com), March 31, 1999


Norm, don'tcha think yer boss Go-Skin-Em is gonna be pissed when AP's lawyers come a-knockin' :

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. If his ass gets sued, its gonna show as a dink in your performance review !!

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), March 31, 1999.

The sun will PROBABLY come up tomorrow. I PROBABLY won't go to mars tomorrow. You are PROBABLY an ass.

-- SCOTTY (BLehman202@aol.com), March 31, 1999.

Hey, everything's fine, no problem!...Um...just don't use the phones, okay?

-- Shimrod (shimrod@lycosmail.com), March 31, 1999.

Mumble, mumble, bug PROBABLY won't cause major telephone or television glitches, but people still should LIMIT THEIR USE of phones and computer modems. . . .

[L]arge companies . . . are MAKING PROGRESS, mumble, mumble, CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC, mumble, mumble, MINIMUM DISRUPTIONS.

, , , [S]ome small- and medium-sized companies are lagging, mumble, mumble, LACK THE EXPERTISE AND MONEY, mumble, mumble.

. . .[T]ips for avoiding or minimizing disruptions. . . LIMITING PHONE AND MODEM USE ON JANUARY 1, mumble, mumble, OR COULD OVERTAX THE NETWORK.

. . .[E]mergency calls to 911, mumble, mumble, "We think it prudent to EXPECT SOME DELAYS. . . in some systems . . . [P]problems could occur if local governments. . . dont fix their equipment. [Alert: Profound remark.]


Mumble, mumble, large wireless companies appear to be on track. . . probably wont affect satellites. . . [but] SOME COMPANIES DIDN'T DISCLOSE THEIR PROGRESS.

End of translation.

Oh goody, I can sleep soundly now.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 01, 1999.

Right on, Old Git!

Great lesson on how to siftthrough the B.S.

It's exactly HOW I read 99% of the whitewash that passes for "reports" all the time.

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), April 01, 1999.

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