Telstra broadens global Y2K assistance program

Telstra's Y2K contract with a Vietnamese telecommunications carrier is part of a broader international telco assistance program, according to company officials.

The Australian carrier recently won a $US1 million contract from Vietnam's tele-`communications authorities to ensure a smooth year 2000 transition for the country's international telecommunications network, the government-owned Vietnam News Service said.

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

According to Telstra's group director, Year 2000 program, Negba Weiss-Dolev, the contract is a follow-on from its existing "business corporation contract", whereby Telstra works with international carriers to share knowledge and assist with strategies to overcome the computing time bomb.

"We're really focusing on international telecommunications infrastructure and this is a business corporation contract. As part of that, it became part of Telstra's program of doing work in all of its international subsidiaries to make sure they are compliant. They've been part of our program since late 1996, and in that time we've been involved in doing the inventory, remediation and testing of that component as part of our relationship with Vietnam Post and Telecommunications. We've also had joint sessions with what we've done domestically in Australia and shared information with them," Weiss-Dolev said.

She explained the deal also relates to its involvement in the Pacific Partners program -- a group of 11 Asia-Pacific-based carriers that collaborate on industry-specific issues.

"As part of that [program], we've taken a lead role in initiating action in that group and making sure that there's testing between the members, making sure all members are informed to look at contingency planning and so forth. Similarly, we're working with the International Telecommunications Union and taking a lead role in Asia; as part of that, we've commissioned an external company to help some of the carriers do some structural work that will take them towards [Y2K] compliance."