Telco Year 2000 Testing Supports Continued Confidence In The Local Telecom Network

<br /> Telco Year 2000 Testing Supports Continued Confidence In The<br /> Local Telecom Network<br />


Telco Year 2000 Testing Supports Continued Confidence In The
Local Telecom Network

Telco Year 2000 Forum LLC Releases Final Report & Test Results

March 3, 1999

Media contact:  

Meghan Gross,
(617) 587-8938

Deb Vlock, Arnold Public Relations

(617) 587-8908

Washington -- Telephone call processing in the U.S. is expected to
continue without major disruption in the new millennium according to
Telco Year 2000 Forum, a group representing the nation's largest local
telephone companies. In its report released today, based upon six
months of interoperability testing designed to identify and minimize
potential Year 2000 complications, the Forum expressed continued
confidence in the ability of the public to place telephone calls at
the start of the new year.

"After six months of interoperability testing, we remain confident
that dial tone will be available on January 1st, 2000. The findings
from our testing help us support the initial expectations of our
members and principal suppliers -- that call voice and data call
processing will continue without significant disruptions during the
transition," said Gene Chiappetta, Chairman of the Telco Year
2000 Forum.

The Telco Year 2000 Forum was organized in 1996 to share
information among local telephone carriers in preparation for the
Year 2000. Representing an historic level of cooperation in the
telecommunications industry, Telco Year 2000 Forum members
agreed to join forces to address the challenge. "Sharing our
members' collective resources has also allowed the Forum to be
more thorough than any individual telephone company could have
been in preparing for the Year 2000," added Chiappetta.

The Forum developed testing strategies for key elements that
provide services in the local telecommunications network. The
testing took place in 20 laboratory environments to simulate
network activity and how it might be affected by the Year 2000.

The interoperability testing covered many of the types of equipment
and software common to Forum members. It also included the
ways in which the tested products interact. Shared resources
allowed the testing of various configurations and combinations of
those products, beyond the scope of the work that an individual
telco could reasonably complete.

"Telcos are experienced in making substantial changes to the
network, such as adding new services, without major disruption,"
explained Gerry Roth, Vice Chairman of the Forum. "Out of 1,914
test cases, only six resulted in Year 2000-related anomalies. Each
of the six was resolved, re-tested and subsequently passed. Our
main goal was to test the functionality of date/time sensitive
operations to minimize the risk of network or service failures. We
believe we have achieved the goal set out in the interoperability

The Forum contracted with Bellcore, a well respected
telecommunications company, to help the Forum test the
interoperability of equipment used to support four clusters of
services: emergency services; basic, enhanced, and intelligent
services; management systems; and data/transport services. After
a year of intensive planning, the Forum conducted testing at 20
telco owned and contracted laboratories between July 6, 1998 and
December 22, 1998.

DMR Consulting Group, Inc., a top-ranked international provider of
information technology services, managed the Interoperability
Testing Initiative for the Forum.

The Forum's testing is one component of the effort needed for
overall Year 2000 compliance in the telecommunications industry.
Other individual companies and other industry groups are carrying
out several levels of testing using a building block approach. (See
sidebar.) This multi-layered strategy supports a cohesive and
cooperative approach to testing activities and scope beyond the
Forum's reach.

"We are sharing our results widely, including with other telephone
companies, in order to be ready for the Year 2000," said Roth.

The Telco Year 2000 Forum LLC is currently made up of the
largest local telephone companies, Ameritech, Bell Atlantic,
BellSouth, Cincinnati Bell, GTE, SBC Communications, and US
West. The Forum's final report and testing publications are
available at www.telcoyear2000.org.


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