LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for AFRIK-IT Archives


AFRIK-IT Archives

AFRIK-IT Archives


AFRIK-IT@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

AFRIK-IT Home

AFRIK-IT Home

AFRIK-IT  June 1998

AFRIK-IT June 1998

Subject:

Forwarded FYI from ITU

From:

"Christopher L. Byrne, Director" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Mon, 1 Jun 1998 23:45:53 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (218 lines)

Battle Plans Agreed to Tackle the Problems Related to the Year 2000 in
the Area of Telecommunications

Geneva, June 2, 1998  -- Initially viewed as an IT problem, the Year
2000 compliance issue is now recognized as a business issue with much
wider implications, the paramount one being business survival.
Potentially, the problems affect all software and embedded
microprocessors (chips) which have any date awareness or dependency.

This affects telecommunications networks, major utilities (such as
electricity, gas, water etc.), transport, building access security
systems, production lines, financial and banking services etc.
The potential problem comes from the use of two character year fields
which could be translated to 1900 instead of 2000, from the fact that
the year 2000 is a leap year whereas most century years are not and from
the traditional use of "99" to signify special events or unique
occurrences as in 9/9/99. Not only all systems codes must be checked but
the same must be done for the interfaces between systems that exchange
information. Embedded date references can often be difficult to identify
because of what IT specialists call "spaghetti codes" that run around
endless strings of references as a result of the "patch and update" work
done over the years in existing programs and software when hardware
became more sophisticated.

Telecommunication networks are computerized at every level, from
switching and transmission to billing and ordering supplies. In order to
ensure that they do not malfunction or suffer outages, the software
programmes throughout the network must be checked and fixed. Fixing
software requires programmers to verify millions of line of code.
Analysts estimate that an average-size company could have to review up
to 12 million lines of code at a cost of about $US1 per line. In case of
embedded systems, every chip with two-digit year has to be found and
replaced. Given the possible nature of consequences, there is no option
but to ensure that every piece of problem equipment is identified,
assigned a priority, repaired/retired, tested and certified Y2K
compliant.

To the extent that network elements are reliant on chips, they are
vulnerable: some undersea cables could be "millennium-vulnerable",
sea-bed based repeaters may require replacement or reprogramming.
Satellite ground equipment may need modification. As for Internet,
problems are anticipated in the way in which routing data is generated
and named and node failures are not excluded.

Although it is unclear at this point whether any major disruptions are
expected to international telecommunication networks in the change from
1999 to 2000, what is clear is that telecommunication carriers will be
affected in a number of ways in whatever transactions call upon the use
of dates, whenever they are based on a two-digit representation. The
fact that the problems will be mostly local in nature is not to say that
cooperation between carriers is not important to solve the array of
problems commonly known as the "Millennium Bug". "Exchange of
information among operators is vital to an understanding of the position
on International Direct Dialing (DID) and International Private Leased
circuits" said Ron Balls of BTU and Chairman of the ITU Year 2000 Task
Force. "The business continuity aspects and the interworking with
equipment from a host of suppliers and vendors could mean that a number
of operators could potentially be severely affected; one should not lose
sight of the fact that the global network is only as strong as its
weakest link" he said.

The ITU, back in October 1997, adopted a series of action items
including the setting up of a Task Force, placed under the authority of
ITU-T Study Group 2 (ITU-T Study Group 2 is responsible for Network and
Service operation), to coordinate all activities relating to the Year
2000 issue. The Task Group held its first formal meeting last March at
which it agreed on a number of measures designed to raise awareness of
all telecommunication operators and carriers of the Year 2000 problems
(Millennium Compliance) and provide advice and information on how best
to overcome potential difficulties associated with the change to the new
millennium. "Clearly, this global problem requires a global approach
based on local implementation" said Tomas Nylon of Tell and
Vice-Chairman of the Task Force. "Not dealing with the Year 2000 issue
in one country could be as dangerous to that country's partners than
computer viruses. Every telecommunication operator must ensure that its
company is Year 2000 compliant and, to this end, must conduct an
accurate assessment of what needs to be done, a thorough analysis on how
to proceed, a conversion phase whenever warranted and must allow a
testing period to validate the action taken" he added. "No-one can
afford to ignore the problem. Operators who fail to do so could face
major surprises down the road With less than than 581 days to go, there
can be no false starts because the deadline is immovable" he concluded.
A very tight programme of action has been initiated to complete and test
the changes by the end of 1998 and provide sufficient time to undertake
the necessary adjustments before the end of 1999. Clearly, not every
country will be able to follow such a tight time-scale, but many large
organizations have already a target of achieving compliance by the end
of this year.

In a testimony to the US Senate last month, US FCC Chairman William
Kenner said "every company, every government agency and every
organization that has looked into the problem has found that it is more
complicated, more serious and more costly than originally estimated". He
also expressed concern as to whether foreign telecommunication companies
especially in the developing world would be able to provide service on 1
January 2000.

Earlier this year, a survey by BTU showed that only 11% of its
interconnect partners in Africa and the Middle East confirmed that they
had set up millennium projects and are on their way towards achieving
compliance. This compares with 23% in Asia-Pacific. 49% in the Americas
were taking action and 43% of European operators had effective projects
underway. "This could have a huge impact on international trade, foreign
investment, the global economy and even national security" said FCC
Kenner.

At Malta, the second World Telecommunication Development Conference
addressed the issue and included in its final declaration that "As a
matter of urgency, the "Year 2000" problem should be addressed". Network
interworking makes it all the more imperative that all countries be
compliant and special efforts must be devoted to developing nations
which are not always aware of the fact that they are important elements
in the chain.

A special awareness campaign specifically aimed at developing countries
is to be launched by ITU's Development Bureau (BDT) and Year 2000 has
now become a top item on ITU's public agenda. "We plan to organize
regional workshops in the Asia-Pacific, Arab States region, Africa,
Latin America, Europe and CIS countries to alert decision-makers of the
fact there this is a real problem that cannot be ignored" said BDT's
Director, Ahmed Laouyane. "Some of the central issues for developing
countries are the magnitude of costs combined with a shortage of
expertise and time" he added. "With that in mind, we will do whatever is
possible to ensure that developing nations get concrete guidance on what
is to be done" he said. As a member of the Technical Advisory Panel of
the INFODEV World Bank programme, Mr Laouyane also reported that under a
Year 2000 grants Programme, national governments of developing countries
were encouraged to move vigorously and proactively in reducing the risks
in information and embedded systems related to the Year 2000 problem.

A Web Site has now been put into place for public access. It will act as
a repository and clearing house for all information on the Year 2000
problems as they affect telecommunications. Among the action already
taken by the Task Force, a questionnaire has been sent to all operators
and has been posted on the Web Site. The analysis questionnaire aims at
collecting and compiling Year 2000 information that will help understand
the issues and the measures already taken by the industry. The purpose
of this Questionnaire is to enable Operators to conduct a self
assessment of their own position in respect of Year 2000 readiness, to
enable the Year 2000 Task Force to understand the readiness of each
Operator, to establish a "Year 2000" contact point in each organization
and to publish the readiness status on the ITU Year 2000 Web site. The
questionnaire has been sent to the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) for further dissemination to the national bodies
taking part in the work of the joint ISO/IEC technical committee on
information technology (JTC 1) and to the industry, government, and
experts including computer manufacturers and software houses around the
world. ISO is currently seeking nominations of experts from the JTC 1
community as well as from their banking and electronic commerce
committees with a view to preparing guidance material on what should be
done to avoid Year 2000 millennium compliance problems.

In addition to general information on the Y2K problem, the Web site
currently includes a "tool kit"  containing generic awareness
documentation, generic inventory guidelines and general project plan.
The Generic Project Plan provides checklist of items to review to
prepare for Year 2000 compliance covering systems, products & services,
desktop inventories, networks hardware, components and systems,
buildings and communication. This checklist defines the minimal set of
tests which will be required to demonstrate that a network system or
component is Year 2000 compliant. It can be used to record the results
of a test or to confirm that evidence is available (e.g. from test
results) that the system or component is compliant.

This global exchange of information should contribute to ensure that
international calls can be terminated or transit all countries.
Awareness and guidance documents on Year 2000 issues are also being
prepared with a view to assisting telecommunication businesses to be
Year 2000-compliant. All information will automatically be posted in the
public domain space of the ITU Web Site together with e-mail point of
contact for Web Site readers making inquiries. Future documents will
include "best practices for contingency plans" for the period December
1999-January 2000 for fault handling, recorded announcements,
alternative routings, etc, should international calls be affected by
non-compliance in transit or destination countries.

To work on specific issues, sub-groups of the ITU Year 2000 Task Force
are being set up. The first one, the Inter-Carrier testing Sub-Group,
has already met once. Its purpose is to specifically address the
feasibility of Inter-Carrier Year 2000 compliance testing and produce a
definitive set of statements that will assist the ITU, its members and
their customers to establish what is practicable and recommended when
seeking end-to-end assurances for Year 2000 compliance.

The sub-group role and responsibilities include:
Promoting Year 2000 compliance standards (BSI, ISO definitions etc.)
amongst ITU members to create greater global consistency and a common
understanding.

Devising Inter-Carrier test scenarios that can be used to construct an
end-to-end inter-operability view of Year 2000 compliance testing
Issuing guidelines for ITU members for dealing with Inter-Carrier
testing

Publishing the results of its work and best practice information to
complement the Year 2000 self-assessment process launched through the
analysis questionnaire

Involving switch suppliers and manufacturers with inter-carrier testing
analysis and promote consistent information flows on switch compliance
progress

Creating an environment that promotes the sharing of information and
best practice amongst carriers, suppliers and customers to help address
Year 2000 compliance testing.
Manufacturers, vendors, consultants and interest groups, although not
involved in the Inter-Carrier Testing sub-group, will be involved at the
Task Force level to foster a thorough and open dialogue on the
implications of Year 2000 compliance work. "Telecoms equipment
manufacturers and suppliers have a key role to play in the Task Force,
said Ron Balls in that they know what equipment they have provided, the
software build levels and general status" he said. "And last but not
least, they can support operators" he added. "We are doing whatever we
can to get all our partners "Year 2000 ready" but ultimately, everyone
must carry out its share of the work for all to benefit" he concluded.
The next meeting of the Task Force is schedule to take place in Geneva
on 3 and 4 June next.

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
September 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
April 2008
March 2008
November 2007
August 2007
July 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
November 2005
October 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.HEANET.IE

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager