Pacific Bell Blamed For California Computer Crashes : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Just remember-FOF and its all over in three days. Yea right!

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - SBC Communications Inc.'s (NYSE:SBC - news) Pacific Bell is to blame for a raft of government computer crashes that have forced California state agencies to turn away applicants for drivers licenses, food vouchers and other services, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

``This has been a lot worse than anything we expect from Y2K,'' Elias Cortez, the state's chief information officer, told the newspaper.

The Times said San Francisco-based Pacific Bell, which California hired this year to carry its computer-to-computer communications over high-speed data lines, was having trouble adapting to the demands of a high tech data network while managing state telecommunications.

Company officials acknowledged there had been problems, but said that service had been vastly improved in recent weeks.

``We didn't provide the quality of service that (the state) expected of us or that we expected of ourselves,'' said Doug Michelman, a Pacific Bell vice president.

Michelman, in comments to Reuters Monday, said the company had reacted swiftly to signs of trouble.

``It is important that people understand that these intermittent problems are really behind us. They occurred intermittently over the spring and summer...we reacted very quickly and took it upon ourselves to build a backup network to ensure that the state agencies (escape) continuing negative impact. ''Over the past month or so the network is acting very, very well and there haven't been any real problems of any serious kinds,'' Michelman said.

The Times said that, starting shortly after Pacific Bell took up its $1 billion seven-year contract to handle the state's telecommunications needs in January, computer glitches began cropping up throughout the system.

The California Highway Patrol suddenly had difficulty checking criminal records and Child Protective Services could not get quick access to abuse files. For two days the Department of Motor Vehicles in Glendale had to process drivers license renewals manually, and one consulting firm clocked 19,000 minutes of intermittent outages from January to July.

Officials said the outages had been devastating to customer service, particularly at the DMV where huge applicant back-ups forced several offices to call in fire marshals to control crowds and other simply closed early, turning customers away.

The Times said Pacific Bell received high marks for ``near flawless'' operation of the voice communication side of the telecommunications contract.

But it said one consulting firm hired by the state to look into the problem had found equipment failures, software problems and internal procedures geared toward operating voice, not data, systems had combined to hamper Pacific Bell's ability to manage telecommunications for the data network.

``The majority of service disruptions and slow restoration times ... stemmed from inconsistent or inadequate processes and procedures,'' the International Network Services (Nasdaq:INSS - news) report said.

Pacific Bell officials said the company, at its own expense, has installed backup systems on critical lines and noted that in recent weeks there had been no major outages.

``We've made some drastic improvements ... and that has given me great confidence in our ability to meet the expectation of our customer,'' said Lea Ann Champion, president of Pacific Bell's business communications services division.

Some politicians have said the state is also partly to blame, pointing to a contract which fails to provide stiff penalties for poor service and which timed the new Pacific Bell contract to begin just as a new governor's administration was taking over in Sacramento.

State Sen. Debra Brown said contractual clauses that prevent the state from initiating any action against Pacific Bell until it has failed to meet service standards for at least three consecutive quarters were a problem.

``You have to wait essentially an entire year before you're able to terminate this contract,'' said Brown, who heads the state Senate's Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. ''(That) really ties the state's hands.''

-- y2k dave (, October 05, 1999


As I answered in a previous post about this, the real news about this is that the problems with Pac Bell started right after New Years '99. The whole state was boluxed up, including drivers licenses, impounded cars, vital nutrition programs, etc, stc., etc. But only AFTER it stopped, did the media deem it worthy of notice.

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in, October 05, 1999.

For the record, the 3-day FOF model applies to a very specific subset of bugs, each individually trivial to repair. Those are date handling bugs which is what we're all worried about, right?

This was a case of an entire complex system being designed and built for one purpose (voice communications) and subjected heavily to a different purpose (data communications). Violating a system's design goals is the worst kind of computer problem you can encounter.

It's illogical to conclude that y2k problems cannot be repaired quickly, simply because totally different (and much worse) problems cannot. Apples and oranges.

-- Flint (, October 05, 1999.

FOF what a crock!

You have 10 guys in a line each waiting for the guy infront of him to fix his system so that he can start to debug his system.

Three days, my eye....

Things will get worse before they get better.

-- Helium (, October 05, 1999.

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