Bell Atlantic's Y2K Preparations Cover 'Leap Day'

Bell Atlantic's Y2K Preparations Cover 'Leap

Company Anticipates No Problems for Callers

February 28, 2000


Jim Smith,

NEW YORK - As the date rolls over to Feb. 29 around the world with no problems reported by telecommunications companies there, Bell Atlantic is confident that callers from Maine to the Virginias will continue to experience normal service levels despite the "leap day" computer threat.

Some observers had suggested that, because 2000 is a leap year exception, some computer programmers might have overlooked the extra day in laying out calendar-based functions.

During more than three years of work to rid Bell Atlantic's complex computer systems and software of year 2000 problems, employees also checked hardware and software to be sure Feb. 29, 2000, would be recognized as a legitimate date.

"We've seen absolutely no impact on telecommunications on the far side of the globe, and we expect none here," said Joseph Tumolo, director of Bell Atlantic's business continuity planning.

This year is considered a leap year due to a complexity created in 1583 when the modern calendar was created. To adjust the calendar to true astronomical timing, years divisible by 4 become leap years, except when
the year is divisible by 100. But years divisible by 400, like this year, are leap years.

The leap year issue is related to worries about computers not being programmed to recognize the change to 2000 from 1999 because dates had been stored as two digits instead of four. Similarly, there was concern last summer that Sept. 9 would cause computer problems because "9999" had been used in computer language to indicate the end of a program. No problems occurred then, basically because computer programmers use zeros as placeholders in dates, making Sept. 9 "090999," not "9999."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the
world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are
also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.