Y2K
Talking Point
 
Telecommunications: Blue (little risk of material disruption)

The telecoms industry in the UK is not expecting millennium bug disruption over the New Year period, but calls overseas may face problems.

All phone companies that provide lines directly to their customers have been classified Blue in the Action 2000 coding.

Phone companies have been carrying out their own assessments, under the supervision of the Office of Telecommunications (Oftel). There have also been an independent assessment by consultants W S Atkins of contingency plans of the main phone companies.

The 999 emergency service has been tested by BT and New Scotland Yard.

Pressure on the network

The main concern surrounding the millennium bug has been the threat of disruption to 999 emergency calls, particularly at the busy time over the New Year period.

According to Oftel, the phone companies have taken all possible steps to make sure 999 calls can get through to the emergency services.

But New Year's Eve is always a busy time, particularly around midnight, with people trying to get through to friends and family. Oftel has admitted congestion could be a problem - but insists this is nothing to do with the millennium bug. The advice to the public if calls do not go through, is to try again later.

International calls could be more complicated as they rely on phone networks in other countries. UK companies are working with the International Telecommunication Union to find out the Y2K readiness of other countries.

Links:

International Telecommunication Union

Oftel Year 2000 website

Telecom Operators Forum Year 2000 website

The Action 2000 traffic light codes:

Blue: The assessment has not identified any risks of material disruption to the infrastructure process.

Amber: The assessment indicates that there is some risk of material disruption to infrastructure processes, but that there is an agreed containment plan to rectify shortcomings.

Red: The assessment indicates that there is a severe risk of material disruption to infrastructure processes and that timely rectification might not be possible.

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