Telecom Industry - Big Three : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Anyone know how really *ready* or should I say compliant the big three telecoms are? (AT&T, MCIWorldcom and Sprint) Yeah, yeah, I know what I have read...I want to hear it from someone who really *knows* without the spin on it. I work for one of the big three telecoms as a customer service rep. I have noticed that in the past few weeks, my system will crash a lot, will lock up a lot (more than normal) - but that could just be because we run OS2 on compaqs... But...I have also noticed billing errors that are just too too strange. Things like customers getting letters that say their accounts are cancelled and when I look in their accounts everything's just fine, no cancellation, no problems. These letters have been going out to customers for about three weeks now...for NO apparent reason. Also strange things like billing errors that shouldn't be happening - people being charged wrong rates, etc. for NO reason that can be determined. Another thing is crossed numbers. This is happening a *lot* more than it ever used to happen. Like, a customer will get a bill in their name, with their address, but with someone else's calls from a completely different number on their bill! It's very frustrating to say the least. Hard to explain. Just apologize and mumble something about "it's just a mistake"... Could it be that some backdoor Y2k remediation/testing is going on and it's causing this? I can't get any straight answers from the *powers that be* on this... It's frustrating to say the least, and of course our speil for Y2k is pure company-line spin, and we cannot say anything but what the company wants us to say. It will be interesting to say the least to see what happens as the year progresses. It's a mess now...if it gets worse it will be *really* fun. Any real inside info from those in the know would be appreciated. Thanks. Sign me, A *very* frustrated telecom employee

-- wondering (, July 25, 1999



Funny you should mention billing errors. I signed of for that MCI service that's supposed to be 5 cents on Sundays and 10 cents other times.

On my last 2 bills, I've been charged 52 cents and 43 cents per minute!! (I didn't compute all of the calls ... but this was a sampling.) Obviously my phone bill was HUGE. A call to my mom that should have been about $4.50 ... was $43.28!!!!

I emailed MCI and will follow-up with phone call to see what's going on.

-- Cheryl (, July 25, 1999.

Maybe it has something to do with the "other Y2K" - sunspots.

-- greedy hippy (greedy@tree.hugger), July 25, 1999.

I have noticed a lot of systems goofing up. In fact nearly nothing is right anymore. Was that always the case? My mailorder prescription thing said my prescrip had expired when, in fact, I had four refills left. The human rep couldn't explain that one, either. Well...back to pre-computersociety. So, it was a semiconductor plot to destroy us, after all...I did read that story somewhere.

-- Mara Wayne (, July 25, 1999.


MCI billing systems are very old by todays standands. They were suppose to update them in 1996 or 97 but didn't. Now they just pile promotion upon promotion into their systems, without testing the results. The results are many billing problems. I have been informed by someone in systems integrity that MCI systems are just waiting to crash in a BIG way. There are people that know this withinn MCI but there attention now is to the stockholders.(Mr Ebbers) AS far as someone else phone numbers appearing on invoices, this is commonly refered to as a misbill. The LEC's are really screwing with MCI this way that very hard to explain. It cost MCI millions each year to fix these misbill situation. Remember MCI has 5 cent saturdays now.

-- y2k dave (, July 25, 1999.

In two separate incidents in the past 4 months, AT&T removed me from the One Rate plan. In each case the mistake was easy to spot as my bills were huge. When I called both times, they were at a loss to explain how it happened, but did correct the situation and credit the difference. Never experienced problems like these before. Makes me wonder.....

-- Gia (, July 25, 1999.

Has nothing to do with Y2K ane EVERYTHING to do with Compaq.

Compost the Compaq and go with GATEWAY, DELL, etc.

Compaq has been sued in a CLASS ACTION representing EVERY purchaser in the 1996 - 1997 time frame. It's like Y2K...their motherboards are infected with a timing's systemic!

That's one reason I was so open to becoming a GI. All i knew was my daughter' circa 1995 Acer had never crashed so badly that it required reinstallation of ALL the software, yet I had to more than 70 times in just under a year. The vendor and Compaq did EVERYTHING to weasel out of responsibility. Compaq even went so far as to say that if I ran any software other than Compaq software, that they were not responsible.

I'm NOT trying to trash Compaq. I now have a GATEWAY and love it. My point is that all the games of finger pointing that I saw with the Compaq situation is being played out in Y2K.

Folks, it ain't gonna get fixed!

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@It's ALL going away in, July 25, 1999.

I am a contractor at another large long distance phone company. We have also experienced an increase in unexplained errors. Most of our errors started showing up after we upgraded our data base management system. We had some problems with the DBMS upgrade. We have had a 100% turnover in our DBAs in the past year. Our previous DBAs had tweaked our system and the new DBAs didnt take a complete backup before the upgrade, so once the upgrade was in, there was no going back.

We temporarily lost track of what version of our application software was running in production. We believe that we currently have this situation under control. We now rely on a PC based software tracking system that was implemented as a supplement to the mainframe tracking system.

We have also noticed that some data base access requests are not returning the same data as the previous versions of the DBMS. It is not a widely occurring problem and only appears to affect certain database views. We dont believe that these errors are causing large problems at this time. We have workarounds that we have used for similar problems and we have this situation under control.

New versions of language compilers have also caused problems. Many of the systems that I have worked on were originally written in COBOL. IBMs new Y2K version of COBOL contains Y2K run time modules that must be used, even if the original code was compiled under a previous version of COBOL. Some of the older COBOL programs required more extensive modifications in order to work with the new compiler. This increases the possibility of introducing more errors.

We have been phasing in our Y2K remediated application systems code over the past couple of years. With each new release, a couple of bugs inevitably were introduced. These errors were fixed as they were discovered.

It is interesting to note that our remediated billing system software has been running in production for almost 2 years now. This same software has been going through time machine testing for about 1 and = years now. We still have not had a totally successful Y2K time machine test.

We have been finding seven to ten errors per remediated system. Most of these errors were very easy to fix and often involved errors introduced when reapplying the fix to a more current version of the program at the last minute. Our software was not frozen during the Y2K remediation effort.

It is possible that the errors that your company is experiencing are similar to the errors that many organizations are experiencing as they move their Y2K compliant systems into production.

But, y2k dave brings up an interesting point that also might explains many of your companys problems. Since the telecom industry was deregulated, I have noticed an increase in problems of intra-company communications, not just with the LECs, but also between the long distance carriers.

There are more and more companies that we exchange data with each day. Our billing job sequence is highly dependent upon successful sequential completion of our job streams. When a data feed from one of these external organizations is not available, our job stream is disrupted until someone makes a go/no-go decision.

As we tie more of the data dependant job together, it is easy to make a wrong go/no-go decision. These incorrect field decisions can have a ripple effect. In some cases in many require the successful execution of the next cycle. In other cases, in may require that someone fix the erroneous data.

It is possible that a corrupt program is slowly damaging your companys database. In this case, the corrupt program will have to be located and repaired. An assessment of the damage done will have to be made and the corrupted data repaired.

With all the Y2K modifications that have been going into production at most companies, these types of errors have to be expected. How much damage they do before they are repaired is the real questions. I hope your company finds and fixes your problems. Hope this helps.


-- B. K. Myers (, July 25, 1999.

Once again people are not answering the question, maybe it's because they don't know. The customer service applications are fixed for my company (one of the big three). They might be crashing because of testing but highly unlikely. Testing is done is a separate environment. The remediated code is back into production but Y2K wouldn't be causing the problems you mentioned. I think you're taking coincidents and making it fit into a "conspiracy theory". Notice how when you buy a red car, then a majority of the cars on the road seem to be red. Same thing here.

-- Maria (, July 26, 1999.

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