Report: Y2K glitches likely but impact limited

A new report on how the world is prepared to handle the year 2000 date change predicts that many errors will occur, but they'll have only a limited impact on national infrastructure services such as energy, telecommunications and transportation.

Considering how many nations were lagging with their Y2K projects just a few months ago, skeptics call the new report a leap in faith.

"It has taken five to six years for the US to get ready," noted Kazim Isfahani, a year 2000 analyst at Giga Information Group. Now, countries such as Italy and Spain -- characterised by experts as seriously far behind in their work just six months ago -- "are suddenly ready? That's ridiculous," he added.

The report, which was released yesterday by the UN-sponsored International Y2K Cooperation Centre, is cautiously optimistic that governments and businesses around the world will suffer only limited damages resulting from Y2K-related snafus.

The report cites a combination of factors to support its premise, including a generally accelerated international response to Y2K over the past several months and how the infrastructures for most developing countries don't rely on computer automation.

The IY2KCC report does draw some similar parallels to other global Y2K readiness reports, including an August study that was issued by Gartner Group. In that report, the research firm added other methods of assessing Y2K-related risks on a country-by-country level, including each nation's reliance upon IT and communications as well as trade dependencies as a percentage of gross domestic product.

Like Gartner Group, the IY2KCC report labels health care as a high-risk area, in part because medical facilities in the US and abroad have been late in responding to the Y2K problem.

But unlike Gartner Group, which ranked Russia as the country facing the highest Y2K-related risks, the IY2KCC report doesn't rank Russia at all since that country didn't provide any public information about its status.

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