ATIS Applauds Congressional Action on a GPS Backup System

WASHINGTON — August 17, 2017 —The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), a leading technology and solutions development organization bringing together top global information and communications technology companies to advance the industry’s most critical business priorities, applauds Congress’ action on a backup to the existing Global Positioning System (GPS).  North American telecommunications networks are critically dependent on GPS-derived timing using stationary antennas to allow precise synchronization of networks operated by different network providers. Because of this, much ATIS work is geared toward ensuring that our GPS system continues to provide reliable timing our networks and other infrastructure depend upon.

ATIS’ Synchronization Committee (SYNC) is currently at work to identify the potential technical and operational impacts of GPS vulnerabilities, such as those caused by jamming and spoofing. The SYNC Committee has evaluated possible backup technologies that can be used for accurate network synchronization and provided its input to work underway within the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Transportation.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 recognizes the need to develop an appropriate backup system for GPS that can meet industry needs for wide-area coverage, accuracy and resiliency. ATIS commends the recent $10M appropriation for the proof of concept of a GPS complementary and backup system within the House version of the Defense Appropriations Act and looks forward to continued engagement with the Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security on these issues.

“ATIS SYNC strongly supports congressional efforts to motivate development and implementation of alternative positioning, navigation, and timing systems in the United States,” said SYNC Chair, Lee Cosart of Microsemi.

“Alternative sources of precise time will help the North American telecommunications industry become more resilient to GPS disruptions and attacks, and are a critical component of a secure telecommunications infrastructure,” noted SYNC Vice Chair Michael Calabro of Booz Allen Hamilton.

“Accurate network synchronization is vital to keeping our communications networks robust,” said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller. “ATIS is well-positioned and ready to advance the solutions needed to ensure that the accurate timing that users experience today will be secured into the future.”

Further information about ATIS timing and synchronization work can be found at the following links:

ATIS SYNC Committee

ATIS Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems

ATIS Workshop on Time Sync in Financial Markets

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