The UK's six key infrastructure services claim that they are close to beating the millennium bug, according to the government's advisor Action 2000.
But a leading millennium bug expert has warned that the infrastructure companies are failing to understand the severity of the problem, and are still not fully prepared.
At a conference for infrastructure regulators last week, representatives from the UK's water, gas, electricity, oil, telecoms and financial industries all claimed to have "robust plans" in place for dealing with Year 2000 fall-out, and claimed that they were satisfied that disruption could be contained.
Action 2000 chairman Don Cruickshank said that key infrastructure providers are "well under way to being fully prepared". One of the more bullish responses came from telecoms regulator Oftel, which said that 90% of the telecoms sector would be Y2K compliant by mid-1999, with the remaining 10% being compliant by September 1999.
Oftel operations director Anne Lambert said that it could not cover the readiness of phone networks in other countries, and that it was working with other regulators to ensure that the international telephone network was not affected.
But Karl Feilder, founder of Greenwich Mean Time, believes many large businesses are not addressing the real Y2K problem. "Typically the large infrastructure companies are looking at progress on their mainframe systems and assuming everything is fine," he said. "But no large organisation has a grip on the problem."
Feilder cited as his main concern that large organisations seem to have little idea of the amount of work involved to reconfigure PCs.
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