As a contingency plan against possible millennium meltdown in telecoms services, banking giant Citibank is spending "several millions of dollars" on a backup satellite service.
While Oftel reports that UK telecom networks show "no material risk of disruption", the global picture looks bleak.
The US bank has begun implementing an emergency Vsat satellite network in 20 countries to ensure its voice and data communications will not be disrupted.
David Moore, chairman of the Telecommunications Managers' Association's Y2K special interest group and Citibank's Emea Y2K coordinator, warned: "I'm proud of the UK for doing such hard work, but we shouldn't be self-satisfied. Carriers have to look at the big picture. How many have thought about the power supplies their networks are plugged into?"
Moore claimed there are no assurances of the compliance of some international carriers. Deutsche Telekom rejected criticism of its own compliance reporting. The German telco insisted it is doing test and trials to ensure its networks are ready.
"Most should be fixed by the next working day but there is a strong likelihood of problems in Asia and Africa," Moore added.
However, Gerard Long, UK Y2K head at Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC), believes such actions are premature: "There are international issues and we have contingencies, but we won't spend a fortune on eventualities which we don't perceive will occur."
Natwest and Barclays said they are both working on contingency plans. But Moore warned, time is running out: "A rush for contingency bandwidth will mean some could find themselves short."
For further stories see 5 May issue of Network News UK
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