Year 2000 Flaw Hits Telecommunications Company in Illinois : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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(U-WIRE) CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- In 1900, the Post Office did not have any cars or planes to help deliver the mail. That could be a reason why Illicall bills from January 1900 finally arrived last week.

All roughly 8,500 Illicall subscribers have received or will soon receive their January 2000 long-distance statements; however, they appear to be a century old already because of a Y2K glitch.

Scott Spitz, a University of Illinois freshman in applied life studies, noticed that his statement was dated 1900 when it arrived in his mailbox Jan. 19.

"I thought it was kind of funny after the big deal made about Y2K," he said.

Glen Whitmer, assistant director of the Computing and Communications Services Office, said this is the result of the number "19" being hard-coded on the program for the phone bills.

CCSO was aware of the problem and said it already been remedied.

This detail was initially overlooked by programmers from Stonehouse, the Dallas-based company that outfits the University with MONIES, its management system that handles inventory and other information in addition to bills.

"Out of our Y2K concerns, here's one that's surfaced," Whitmer said.

Before 2000 rang in, CCSO was trying to make sure the programs it oversees were functioning properly. These include partnerships with Ameritech on a communications system and cellular phone service, voice mail, pocket paging, the University's connection to the Internet and a campus data network.

"This is fairly minor," Whitmer said of the glitch. "At least we don't have students getting (wrongly) charged for 5,000 minutes of air time." Whitmer added that the run date and run time in the upper right-hand corner of the statements are not affected and display the correct year. Customers will also be expected to pay their bills when they arrive in a few weeks.

-- Antoine Neron (, January 26, 2000

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