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Communications leaders believe they're ready for Y2K

By By Sherry Digmon
Advance Staff Writer
Unless everyone in the country decides to make a phone call or log on to the Internet at midnight on New Year's Eve, communications should be operational without a hitch.
Richard Burgess, Frontier Communica-tions' Alabama general manager, reports that the phone company is "in good shape" for the new year.
The biggest fear Burgess has is not the Y2K bug. It's that people will want to test the phones at midnight on New Year's Eve.
Burgess anticipates no problems with normal operations. Frontier has upgraded all central office equipment and computers.
He plans to have about 30 percent of the staff on site that evening, and 50 percent on standby.
In addition, personnel will be assigned to E911, Atmore Community Hospital and the Atmore Police Department to make sure communications are uninterrupted.
Not only does Frontier personnel have to be mindful of telephone operations, the company is also an Internet provider.
If an Internet problem occurs, it will likely be on the user's end, not the provider's.
The Microsoft web site, which can be found at www.microsoft.com/y2k can help users get the information they need. Because some Microsoft products may require a year 2000 update, Frontier recommends that users check this site for any system upgrades they may need. Access to this web site is free and typically any software updates needed from Microsoft are free of charge.
The Apple web site for year 2000 is located at: www.apple.com/about/year2000/ and should be visited by Mac users. Connect time charges may apply if they access this site(s) by using a long distance Internet access number.
While Frontier doesn't anticipate any problems, Burgess is concerned that people will go online at midnight simply to test the system.
For more information on Frontier's readiness, visit www.frontiercorp.com/y2k/ for more information.
Mike Slauson, vice president of Information Systems at Touch 1, expects customer service to continue as usual.
Y2K preparations are two-fold at Touch 1 n the internal organization and corporation and the external agencies, companies and partners.
Being a young company gives Touch 1 an advantage.
Also, in 1997, Touch 1 replaced the infrastructure of the mission critical systems which are used for customer care and billing among other applications.
Externally, Touch 1 has coordinated with vendors and suppliers to make sure they are compliant.
Touch 1 has a Y2K plan in effect. They have been through an assessment phase, a testing phase and a remediation phase. They have physically changed dates on the AS400s, the critical machines, and have tested those.