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Telehouse Partners with NPL for Precision Time-as-a-Service

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Telehouse, the global data centre provider located in London’s Docklands, has partnered with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), to launch a new time-as-a-service offering, NPLTime Certified at Telehouse. The new service is designed to provide timing accuracy and synchronisation to businesses that require a precise, resilient and certified time signal, traceable and certified to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the global time scale.

Although NPL had already been distributing its time services from the Telehouse London Docklands campus for several years, the new offering enables Telehouse London Docklands customers to access the secure and resilient time signal through a fibre optic cable directly connected to the new NPLTime Certified at Telehouse service feed.

Unlike more traditional methods used for time synchronisation, the new service eliminates the need to rely on public internet or GPS antennas, thus eliminating the vulnerabilities associated with the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as jamming and spoofing.

“Macroeconomic developments across the world have driven a lot of organisations to consider what alternatives to GNSS are available as a mitigation plan, in case something goes wrong with the GNSS signal, whether intentional or accidental,” Elena Parsons, Strategic Business Development, Security and Resilience at NPL, tells TradingTech Insight.

“One of the things we see across data centres, across cloud services, across current implementations in the finance sector, is a shift in focus from the traceability and compliancy point of view to the resiliency element,” adds Leon Lobo, Head of the National Timing Centre programme at NPL. “The current Ukraine crisis highlights why that’s critical, because reliance just on GNSS is untenable. So services like these, particularly with all the metrics and the certification behind it, are going to be important not just for the finance sector, but across every critical national infrastructure sector.”

Telehouse will monitor and maintain the new service 24/7 up to the point of network entry, giving customers full confidence in data timing with certifiable accuracy – within one microsecond of UTC – and traceability back to UTC at the point of provision.

“Clients’ commercial agreements will be with Telehouse,” confirms Parsons. “Telehouse is responsible for managing the customer from a commercial perspective, logistics, technical support and so on. They are the first line of support to the customer. But in the background, we are working very closely with them, so in effect this is a Telehouse service powered by NPL.”

The new service will be of particular interest to financial services firms that have been legally required to comply with stringent regulations around time stamping since the introduction of MiFID II RTS 25 since January 2018.

“We would like our clients to use the signal for their own purposes and if there is a requirement out there for them to include it either in an existing service they are offering or to help them innovate and develop new services using NPLTime, that would be the ideal scenario because then we are supporting the industry and we are fostering innovation,” says Parsons.

Takayo Takamuro, Managing Director, Telehouse Europe, commented: “As the technological and regulatory landscapes evolve, accurate time is increasingly business-critical, particularly for financial services organisations that must provide evidence of accuracy for forensic analysis and audits. The launch of NPLTime Certified® at Telehouse further strengthens our commitment to customers to deliver services that directly address their challenges, in this case, certifiable and traceable time to aid regulatory compliance.”

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