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Time and frequency

NPLTime® Services

Supporting industry, enabling innovation and delivering confidence


Terrestrial timing signals for the UK

NPLTime Certified® and NPLTime Access® services from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) offer users a time signal that is traceable to Coordinated Universal Time UTC(NPL).​npltime - time over optical fibre

​GNSS independent

Eliminating risks signal interference or loss

Secure and resilient

Accurate time stamping

Ease of connectivity






Contact us to find out more about our NPLTime Access® and NPLTime Certified® service offerings.

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NPLTime Access®

Providing all UK industry sectors access to a secure resilient timing signal independent of GNSS.

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NPLTime Certified®

An assured service with certification that provides end users in the finance sector with a timing capability that underpins traceable time-stamping, latency monitoring and synchronisation.

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Four core elements of NPLTime®

npltime - time over optical fibre

Accurate and compliantAccuracy

NPLTime® is offered with a one microsecond accuracy to UTC(NPL).

Accurate and compliantTraceability 

NPLTime® is directly traceable to UTC(NPL). 


Accurate and compliantSecurity 

Fibre optic links eliminate GNSS vulnerabilities such as, jamming, spoofing, urban canyon effects and solar storms to ensure resilience and security.

Accurate and compliantSimple setup 

NPLTime® is accessible through NPL service nodes and our resellers.






Find out more about resilient time in our factsheet on time traceability.


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NPLTime® service offering frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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Designed for resilience​

Time is more crucial than ever to industry and society. Uses range from every day positioning tools such as satnavs, to playing a key role in industries such as transport, agriculture and other aspects of critical national infrastructure. The use of timing signals are also an integral part of new technologies such as 5G, smart cities, drones and CAVs. Currently most timing signals are derived from satellites.​​

The 2018 Blackett review highlighted the UK’s dependency on using satellite-derived timing. Requirements are also becoming more demanding, with some applications requiring uncertainties smaller than 1 microsecond and signals that are continuously available.​​

A precise, reliant and reliable timekeeping source, independent of GNSS, is vital to help prevent serious societal and industrial impact in the event of a cyber-attack, jamming or spoofing.​​

NPLTime® Services offer users a time signal over fibre optic links that is traceable to UTC(NPL), not dependent on GNSS.​​

NPLTime takes advantage of the national timescale by taking signal from two masers (each represented by different boxes) and how the signal is being disseminated to the service nodes by diverse links (represented by separate lines). There are two different timing devices in each service node. The graph is showing how the network infrastructure for the NPLTime services has been designed for resiliency.


NPLTime® Digital Portal - Delivering confidence​

The NPLTime® Digital Portal provides an online data reporting service for users and resellers of the NPLTime services®. ​Benefits include:

Providing confidence to the NPLTime® users for signal accuracy and availability

Offering easier data interrogation and benchmarking​

Improving customer experience

Digital portal reporting metrics

NPLTime Access®

NPLTime Certified®

Signal accuracy to UTC(NPL) at the service nodes

Signal accuracy to UTC(NPL) at the service nodes

Signal availability at the service nodes

Signal availability at the service nodes


Signal performance at the reseller end point devices


Service event log


Billing management for resellers

Case study

Delivering trusted time for UBS infrastructure via NPLTime® Certified


National Timing Centre programme

Led by NPL, the UK’s first nationally distributed time infrastructure will improve security and resilience, communication, and implementation of new technologies, and pave the way for trusted time and frequency across the country.

Learn more about NTC