Assured Time and Frequency for the UK
Critical National Infrastructure systems including emergency services, telecoms networks, the energy sector, broadcast and finance institutes rely on increasingly precise, consistent and accurate time received by GNSS (Global navigation satellite system). Any breach or failure in GNSS would jeopardise these systems and could potentially impact the UK economy by over £1 billion per day (reported by London Economics in 2017). A precise reliant reliable timekeeping source, independent of GNSS, is crucial to help prevent serious societal and industrial impact in the event of a cyber-attack, jamming or spoofing.
The National Timing Centre programme (NTC), led by NPL, has started to develop the UK’s first nationally distributed time infrastructure. As the UK’s timing authority, it enables the UK to move away from reliance on GNSS and deliver resilient UK time and frequency that provides confidence to our Critical National Infrastructure.
More resilient and reliable time and frequency signals will accelerate innovation in new technologies such as smart grids, time-critical 5G and 6G applications, factories of the future, smart cities and connected autonomous vehicles.
As the speed of financial trading technology improves, accurate time will also allow for greater improvements in geographical time synchronisation and enhanced traceable time stamping for regulatory compliance.
The UK is recognised as world leading in time dissemination and the National Timing Centre programme is establishing a national timing authority to enable better regional timing capability. It aims to support the whole of the UK and offers organisations across the nation the support needed to secure competitive advantages.
The first two years of the programme saw the design of a multi-site resilient timing core, the launch of £2m worth of timing and frequency innovation grants with Innovate UK, and the creation of training and skills courses. The NTC is also building an active community amongst academia and industry for partnership and development opportunities.
As the programme enters its third year, it will begin to implement the time scale on other secure sites, provide further funding for industry in 2022 to innovate in time and frequency products and services, and upskill its workforce through publishing new online training modules.
To learn more and be involved in the National Timing Centre programme, contact us:
Listen to our National Timing Centre presentations which explore how trusted and assured time will be distributed across the UK and how it can support your business.