No Y2K warning bells from telcos yet

The telecommunications industry and its key players appear to have year 2000 projects under control, however the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) says it is not yet time to rest easy.

Roslyn Kelleher, executive manager, ACA consumer affairs, said whilst there are "no warning bells ringing at the moment", it is "probably a little early" to be sure telecommunication services will operate without a hitch come January 1, 2000.

According to Kelleher, there is a high level of awareness about the year 2000 within the telecommunications industry and a high degree of work is being carried out by service providers.

However, the most critical issue facing all operators is "obtaining reliable Y2K compliant statements from partners and other carriers", she said.

"This will continue to be a problem because of the nature of the beast."

According to a report released by the ACA last week -- Telecommunications Performance Monitoring Bulletin -- carriers are concerned about interconnection and intercarrier issues as well as compliance issues with other suppliers, such as energy companies and billing systems.

The report, which examined Y2K readiness in the industry for the first time, was based on responses received from service providers including Telstra, AAPT, Davnet, Hutchinson Telecommunications, WorldCom, PowerTel and Vodafone.

Kelleher said the ACA approached 25 industry players -- licensed carriers and carriage service providers for the report and received 19 responses.

The companies who failed to respond included carriers with overseas affiliates or those who didn't have adequate time to respond, she said. The list of operators was based on the Telecommunications Intercarrier Group (TIG), a year 2000 working group formed by the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) last December.

According to Kelleher, while the report examined the industry as a whole rather than individual operators, the ACA will continue to monitor operators closely and if need be will take action to ensure all carriers adequately address Y2K. The ACA will release quarterly reports until June 2000 on year 2000 readiness in the Industry.

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