Vietnam losing Y2K race, telco reports

Vietnam is behind schedule on its nationwide year 2000 (Y2K) remediation work and is unlikely to finish the task before January 1, 2000, according to a report published last week by the national telecommunications carrier, Vietnam Posts & Telecommunications (VNPT).

Less than 10 per cent of non year 2000-compliant equipment country-wide has been repaired or replaced, according to the report. In addition, more than 50 per cent of government agencies, cities and provinces are yet to map out year 2000 implementation plans.

The VNPT report quotes Tran Luu Chuong, chief of the secretariat of the National Steering Committee for Fighting Y2K, as saying that unless special measures are taken soon, the plan of finishing all the work by October 30 will not be accomplished.

The committee estimates the total cost of year 2000 work in Vietnam at 545 billion dong ($A60.5 million), equivalent to 0.18 per cent of the country's GDP (gross domestic product), the report said. Investigations showed that of more than 71,000 computers checked so far, 61 per cent were not year 2000 compliant, along with 70 per cent of system software and 90 per cent of application software currently in use.

A shortage of funds and clear legal direction about what extra money can be used for year 2000 remediation remains the biggest obstacle to Vietnam's year 2000 work. Poor performance in the year 2000 work in the government and general business brings the overall average of Y2K compliance to under 10 per cent, the report said.

However, several key sectors such as posts and telecommunications and petroleum have finished 85 per cent of their year 2000 work, the report said. The aviation and banking industries have completed 60 per cent, according to the report.

The three biggest spenders on Y2K work reflect those percentages. VNPT is spending 53 billion dong ($A5.9 million) on year 2000 remediation; Vietnam Airlines will spend 28 billion dong ($A3.1 million); and Electricity of Vietnam, 12 billion dong ($A1.3 million), according to the report. Despite its expenditure on achieving year 2000 compliance for its systems, Vietnam Airlines has already indicated that it will suspend flights during the millennium changeover.

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