Nigerians battle for lines after Y2k disconnect : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Thursday December 30 6:03 AM ET

Nigerians Battle for Lines After Y2K Disconnection

LAGOS (Reuters) - Private Nigerian telephone companies battled to restore service to some 20,000 subscribers on Thursday after the millennium bug bit prematurely when the state firm disconnected them over Y2K fears.

``This is necessary in order to protect the integrity of the national network and avoid disruption of services,'' state-run Nitel said in a statement.

``This is nonsense,'' said an official with one of the private companies trying to get thousands of angry subscribers reconnected to national and international networks.

``Our network has long since been Y2K compliant. We have proved it and we can prove it. I cannot think why government allowed this,'' he said.

The cabinet ruled on Wednesday that Nitel could cut off private operators that it did not feel were proven to be fully Y2K compliant. Within hours it had done so.

Private telephones, both fixed wireless and cellular, are popular with businesses in Lagos because they are much easier to obtain than phones from Nitel and mobile sister company M-Tel.

Although private networks account for barely 20,000 of Nigeria's almost 500,000 connected lines, relations between public and private operators are strained ahead of the promised privatization of the state-owned firms.

Y2K problems could arise due to the possible failure of computers built to record dates using only two digits when they reach 2000 at midnight on December 31.

``All Nitel's facilities nation-wide are Y2K compliant and will not experience any disruption to telecommunications services during the transition from this to the next millennium,'' Nitel said.

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 30, 1999

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