Federal officials are finally moving on a year-old, two-phase plan to establish a long delayed backup for the GPS system.
The Department of Transportation (DoT) posted a request for information (RFI) in yesterday’s (November 30, 2016) Federal Register seeking input from companies interested in providing a second source for the type of timing data now provided by GPS. That ubiquitous, extremely accurate data is essential to the smooth operation of the vast majority the country’s critical infrastructure, including its cell phone networks, power grids, Internet pipelines, and banking systems.
“RFIs are frequently one of the first steps when the government wants to obtain either goods or services,” said Dana Goward, the president of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, which has been advocating for a GPS backup system. “It seems to me, in this instance, the government is leaning towards obtaining services because they talk about being interested in proposals for service level (cooperative) agreements and public-private partnerships, which we think is a good thing.”
Indeed, the government said it would be open to suggestions on ways to access such services and handle cost sharing — as well as asking for industry’s view of the market for a timing service. It also seems open to making changes to clear a way for new approaches.