Don't be too quick to assume the MCI frame-relay outage had anything to do with Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Although it could demonstrate what could happen to unremediated systems.

Be sure to read the very last line...

Tuesday August 17 4:00 AM ET

MCI WorldCom Moves To Soothe Rife

By Ilaina Jonas

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The head of MCI WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq:WCOM - news) Monday moved to make amends with the thousands of customers left in cyberdarkness by the service disruption along its high-speed data network and to placate investor concerns that the problem -- now mostly fixed -- could cut its profit.

Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers said customers whose systems were left in the lurch during the 10-day outage would get a service credit of two cost-free days for each day they lost.

Ebbers also told reporters during a news conference that the disruption would have little effect on third quarter revenue and would not hurt its profit.

``We will see a very, very slight down tick in revenue for the amount of time we were not offering the network,'' Ebbers said. ``The company is still very comfortable with the consensus earnings expectation for the quarter and for the year.''

Analysts expect it to earn 54 cents per share in the third quarter and $1.97 for the year, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. Its shares shed 1/4 to close at 78-7/16 on Nasdaq, where it was Monday's eighth most active issue.

About 3,000 customers use the frame-relay network to send high-speed information from their computers over dedicated private networks they lease from the No. 2 U.S. long-distance phone company. Their monthly bills range from $1,000 to ``in the six-figures,'' Ebbers said.

The company did not know if all the customers on that particular network, one of four it operates, experienced problems, he said.

MCI WorldCom detected problems with the network on Aug. 5 during routine monitoring work, said Ron Beaumont, president of network services. About four weeks ago, the company installed new software, made by Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:LU - news) to allow the network to support additional customers and services.

On Aug. 13, MCI WorldCom shut down the network, removed the upgraded software and reinstalled the old software, also made by Lucent. The process, begun Saturday, was completed for domestic customers Sunday afternoon, Beaumont said.

As of Monday, the company was working out minor problems with some customers. Less than one-tenth of a percent of customers still have problems, Beaumont said.

Customer anger continues, however. For some, two days of free service for each they lost may not be enough.

``We're reviewing our legal recourses as well our relationship with them as our provider,'' said Katherine Spring, spokeswoman for the Chicago Board of Trade. ``We're extremely frustrated and hugely inconvenienced.''

The CBOT, where options and futures are traded on anything from rice to Treasury bonds, said its electronic trading system, which runs on the network, was down 60 percent over the past seven business days and did not return until Sunday evening. About 5 percent of its volume comes from electronic trading, and the outage cost it 200,000 contracts, she said.

Spring said the CBOT had told MCI WorldCom it was having network slowdowns before the network failed Aug. 5.

``The CBOT has been proactive in dealing with the MCI WorldCom network problems, beginning with my meeting with top MCI WorldCom executives two days before the first outage occurred and subsequent discussions with CEO Bernard Ebbers,'' CBOT Chief Executive Thomas Donovan wrote members in a letter dated Monday.

``There may in certain extenuating circumstances for a customer,'' Ebbers said. ``We'll handle that on a case-by-case basis.''

Meanwhile, engineers from Lucent and its research and development arm, Bell Labs, have not yet identified the problem's source, Lucent spokesman Bill Price said.

Ebbers estimated the old network software can support the system for a least another 18 months.

-- Lewis (, August 18, 1999


And in the last line we see the confident term used by so many to cya, - "estimated". He did not state it, guarantee it, or warranty it. He estimated. I estimate that his statement can be wrong within an 18 month period. So there.

-- enough is (, August 18, 1999.

It really doesn't matter whether or not the MCI failure was Y2K- related. The polly crowd has CONSISTENTLY maintained that "problems will be fixed in a few hours".

Here is a graphic illustration that, indeed, some problems take more that 3 hours to repair.

That fact that it's been nearly TWO WEEKS now, and the problem is STILL not completely corrected, shows (IMO) EXACTLY what we're in for. Pollys, of course, are entitled to their opinions as well.

Don't bet your lives on problems being fixed in a few hours. That's a fool's game.

-- Dennis (, August 18, 1999.

For me, the primary lesson of the MCI Worldcom outage is that they had the option to back out the change, they eventually went to that option, and it still took 'em down for 8+ days. This bodes ill for any remediated systems not currently in production use.

Fixing the system is not sufficient. Testing the system is not sufficient. The question now must be "Is the remediated system currently in production?" Any organization which deploys a remediated mission-critical system from now on is very likely to find that they will not have the option of backing out the change. The closer to Rollover, the more committed they will be.

Old saying: difference between involvement and commitment is the difference between ham and eggs. The chicken is involved. The pig is committed.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), August 18, 1999.

Dennis -

Exactly!! Not to mention that they may very well not have old programs to fall back on that are compliant after the roll over. If MCI had this problem in January, would the old program they substituted work? In a lot of cases, probably not, and with this "fix" taking nearly 2 weeks to fix, how long would it take to fix after the roll over if there are no old programs to use? Hmmm...

-- Valkyrie (, August 18, 1999.

You mean the news reports I've heard on CBS Radio News (NOT Internet reports I've read mind you) which tied the outage to a failed Y2K upgrade aren't any reason to believe the outage might have SOMETHING to do with Y2K?


-- Wildweasel (, August 18, 1999.

Yep it was real. I have had AOL for years. I've never had any problems [unlike people elsewhere]. At the top of this thing, my message was access provider not responding. I lost all of my 56k connections. I called AOL. They said it was the MCI problem. They gave me new numbers which allowed me to access at less than 18,800, Get real. I could access the internet and my FTP site; but move any real data, no way. No access=no work. Where is Maria when you need her.

Best wish

-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 18, 1999.

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