asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 10 March (H. L. Deb., col. 218) concerning millennium compliance, how many telecommunication operators licensed by Oftel have:
- (a) effectively declared that all their services will be immune from both the internal and external effects of the "millennium bug";
- (b) declared themselves to be free from substantial risks of material disruption;
- (c) in hand programmes that will be complete by 1 June 1999 to ensure that their operations will be free from substantial risks of disruption;
- (d) in hand programmes that will be complete by 1 September 1999 to ensure that their operations will be free from substantial risks of disruption; and
- (e) in hand programmes that will be complete by 1 December 1999 to ensure that their operations will be free from substantial risks of disruption. [HL1502]
§ The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury)
Oftel has a primary category of 20 companies, including BT, the cable operators and the four mobile operators, which provide direct services to customers (e. g. dial tone) and 999 and these have been the main focus of Oftel attention. These are the 20 companies to which the answers to questions (a) to (e) relate.
Programmes within the 20 primary tele-communications operators are being assessed based on both the internal and external dependencies of operators throughout Oftel's programme of assessment work. Although it is not possible to provide an absolute guarantee that there will be no adverse effects arising from the bug, Oftel judges that the programmes of all companies reviewed so far show that they are reducing risk to an acceptable level.
Assessments and Oftel prioritisation have been driven by the "no material disruption" criterion. It is however important to distinguish between the effects of the bug and congestion that may occur on networks due to excessive demand at the start of the New Year. The 20 primary operators are reviewing normal network management and control provisions to ensure that network integrity and 999 operation are preserved.
Only a handful of companies will have fully completed programmes by 1 June. Telecommunications is a networked industry and there are aspects of testing at the interconnection level that need to continue until programmes are complete. Many of the 20 primary operators are due to complete at 30 June.
Oftel is confident that all 20 companies on its primary list will have completed their programmes by 1 September.
See answer to d. above.
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 10 March (H. L. Deb., col. 218) concerning millennium compliance, whether 100 per cent. availability of telecommunications will be essential for the effective implementation of all contingency plans both of industry and government. [HL1501]181WA
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
All organisations should have business continuity plans so they can maintain essential services in the event of date related failures, whether the failures are internal or external, such as telecommunications. Risk assessment of the likelihood of such failures and their potential impact is an essential element of the business continuity plan.
All parts of the national infrastructure are interdependent upon each other, which is why the Government brought together the key service providers and users in the National Infrastructure Forum, led by Action 2000. The National Infrastructure Forum promotes the independent assessment of the Year 2000 preparedness of critical service providers and this information is shared with members of the National Infrastructure Forum and the wider public and business communities so that it can help inform their risk assessments.
Within government the Home Office is responsible for the Emergency Communications Network. This is a private telephone network, independent of the public network, for use by local authority co-ordinators responding to emergencies, with connections to government departments, agencies, the military and public utility connections.