When IT Meets Politics

Nov 14 2007   9:30AM GMT

How resilient is your infrastructure

Philip Virgo Profile: Philip Virgo


Yesterday I received the following “Update” from Ofcom

“New Ofcom notification service – advanced notice of possible interuption to Global Positioning Systems: The Ministry of Defence conduct occasional tests on military systems which may result in some loss of service to civilian users of the Global Positioning System (GPS) including in-car navigation devices and networks which rely on GPS signals. Ofcom has today launched a new email update notification service to give advanced notification of these tests – To sign up for these email updates please register here: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/subscribe/select_list.htm

My mind went boggle, boggle, boggle at the implications. Then I remembered that GPS is essentially a “grace and favour” service, piggybacking on military satellites and wondered at the reasons for such a notice. Might it be to bolster the case for the European Union’s Galileo Project – intended as a truly civilian service that would not be dependent on the United States? Or was it because of possible interference near military training/testing areas? Either way it is a timely reminder that so much of the infrastructure that we are in danger of taking for granted is surprisingingly fragile.

It is also a reminder of the value of signing up for the Ofcom reminder services and for joining the Communications Managers Association as the main channel for those responsible for business telecommunications (and the many dependent applications) to make their views known to Ofcom.

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  • Ian Brown
    I would imagine MoD are testing out equipment to jam GPS signals. You sometimes see "notice to airmen" warning of the same phenomena in the vicinity of various US military bases...

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