Telstra to fix Y2K issue for Vietnam telco

Australian carrier Telstra has won a $US1 million contract from Vietnam's telecommunications authorities to ensure a smooth year 2000 transition for the country's international telecommunications network, according to the government-owned Vietnam News Service.

The contract, signed last week with the state carrier Vietnam Posts & Telecommunications Corp (VNPT), will primarily consist of installing upgraded equipment and software in the international telecommunications gateways located in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, the news service said. Telstra will oversee the work, which will be carried out by LM Ericsson Telephone Co, the supplier of the main gateway switches in Vietnam.

Telstra's Asia-Pacific president Daryll Smith reportedly said that Telstra and VNPT have also been carrying out thorough testing of power supply, satellite and transmission systems to further minimise possible year 2000 threats to Vietnam's telephone network, according to the news service.

In a survey released late last year by market analyst Gartner Group, Vietnam was rated in the lowest category of year 2000 readiness, with the expectation that 66 per cent of companies there would suffer a mission-critical year 2000 failure. According to Gartner, countries in this category are most likely to suffer failures in government services, air transport, power and telecommunications systems.

The year 2000 problem mostly affects older software programs which use a two-digit data field instead of today's four-digit data field. Computer programs using a two-digit date field may not know whether "00" means 1900 or 2000, which could cause them to malfunction or shut down on January 1, 2000.

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