Saudi phone system has a meltdown : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Published Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 08:35 AM GMT Jeddah phones fall silent as meldown disrupts service

Jeddah's telephone system was brought to its knees on Friday when a power station failure caused a meltdown to several Saudi Telecommunications Company exchanges. Over 15,000 mobile phones, 350,000 land lines and several banks' ATM cash machine networks were affected by the failure, according to local press reports.,2218,0|25|x|1981,00.html

STC said that the problem was due to failure happened when electrical power was cut-off at the exchanges, causing cables to melt. Service to most phones was restored when four new electrical generators were installed and 2000 metres of cable were replaced although as much as 20% of the network was still affected over the weekend.

The telephone failure comes a week after Saudi Arabia dropped off the Internet when a critical router failed at KACST. The two incidents are completely unrelated, according to industry sources.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 29, 2000


This is the kind of infrastructure disaster that many of us expected on January 1. Now it is probably an isolated case, meaningless.

-- Wayward (, August 30, 2000.

I wouldn't be too sure. I don't think any time limits were ever set in cement about y2k, despite many people thinking so. This could be the start of something, even as late coming as it is.

-- Nancy7 (, August 30, 2000.

I thought the whole country dropping off the Internet was an important piece of this story too.

-- Chance (, August 30, 2000.

You put these two stories together and it does seem to have some ominous overtones.

-- Wellesley (, August 30, 2000.

It will be most interesting to see how long this problem lingers. Saudi Arabia is the only country left that has enough capacity to step up oil production and fill in for any gaps. Other OPEC members can't do it, and Indonesia admits it can't even fill its quotas.

If the Saudis get stopped up too, the world is in for a mad-dash to much higher oil prices, and in a hurry. I'm curious to see how early this would happen. Would it be in time to crash the stock market, and, thus, affect the election?

-- Uncle Fred (, August 30, 2000.

Curious that a power failure would cause cables to melt.Loss of air conditioning?

-- Sam (, August 30, 2000.

Very interesting exchange... If one looks back at the press briefings by the President's Council during the first five to seven days of 2000, one will find a decided shift of perspectives and messages. At the beginning, lead officials, particularly Mr. Koskinen, urged that assessments not be made too quickly concerning the nature and scope of the problems that might be traceable to Y2K-related malfunctions, that it could be weeks if not longer before any assessment might be possible. Officials also cautioned that there were still trigger dates to come, including December 31, 2000. However, by the end of the first week of 2000, it was as if these same officials had totally abandoned this perspective and indeed, decided that an assessment could be made and further intensive monitoring was not needed except for the leap year date. In doing so, they seemingly were forgetting or ignoring the fact that Y2K-related problems, malfunctions, system degradation, system failures, and complex integrated system breakdown might take weeks, if not months or longer to become apparent. It is also well to remember that quite a few of those offering predictions and otherwise speculating concerning the possible nature of the impacts that might be expected were looking at a time frame of a year or longer, not five days, 10 weeks, or several months. The benchmark data that the government's Information Coordination Council (ICC) gathered in December presumably were to be used to assess whether or not the problems that became evident in a range of different sectors after the rollover were significantly greater in number or more serious in kind than problems occurring in the same sectors during comparable time frames in previous years. The time frames to be considered, however, should not in effect have been limited to five days or a few weeks. Also, an effort should have been made (and government efforts should continue to be made at least through the first quarter or half of 2001) to capture information on all failures and problems having public health and safety or other implications, that have become and are becoming evident. Instead, such problems were never tracked adequately, let alone assessed, by any official public sector entity. Those heading up the Y2K efforts of the Federal government failed in their stated intention to monitor reports of "failures" as such and instead passed on partial information about "reportable failures". The redefinition of what should have been reported and the reactive and fragmentary character of information gathering efforts render any assessment highly problematic at best. Further discussion of most of these points can be found in my exchange with John Koskinen at . A December 1999 release focusing on the benchmark data gathered by the ICC can be found in the appendices to that exchange at the same website.

-- Paula Gordon (, August 30, 2000.

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