[ntp:questions] NIST wonders if it makes sense to outsource NTP over the public Internet

Charles Elliott elliott.ch at verizon.net
Thu Mar 20 11:17:14 UTC 2014

The ustiming.org NTP server in NYC was consistently wrong for a long time; 
I have not looked at it lately.  If the government is going to privatize 
serving time, then it has to exercise more effective oversight.

The other side of the coin is, where is the money in serving time?
The management of private, stockholder-owned corporations has a 
legal obligation to protect and try to enhance stockholder wealth.
The legal measure of that obligation is the internal rate of return
on invested assets.  It follows that in most corporations, managers
are rated on, and promoted according to, their contributions to profit.

But time servers cost money to run, maintain, monitor for accuracy, and
provide Internet access to.  How does management satisfy its legal
obligation to wring a return from those computer assets and ongoing

Perhaps ntp.org could contribute here:
Could/should every NTP packet have room for an optional message such as,
    "This time brought to you by Cheerioes."
Could/should NTPD post a message box every so often saying something like,
    "This time brought to you by US Steel -- the best in bridge girders."
Could/should some way be found to charge NTP time users one mil per packet,
My point is that corporate management is legally required to be able to 
point to an increase in an asset as a result of the costs of serving time. 
That asset could be good public relations or the development
of a reputation for public service, but even that is tricky as some
gadfly might stand up in the annual meeting and ask, legitimately, why are
spending thousands of dollars (Euros, shekels, etc.) to send out the time of
day when the XYZ division is operating with 20-year-old equipment and losing
tens of thousands of dollars (Euros, shekels, etc.) every month?

If the government is going to pay for the distribution of accurate time,
there has to be  a showing of public benefit, which, of course, there is in
increased accuracy and uniformity of the timing of transactions.  But then
more time the rich are being asked to pay for something everyone benefits
which in the US right now is not going over well.

Charles Elliott

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Subject: Re: [ntp:questions] NIST wonders if it makes sense to outsource NTP
over the public Internet

Paul wrote:
> https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=4f5c8b176af03d89a
> bb1a318624c944b
> SUMMARY: National Institute of Standards and Technology  (NIST), 
> Department of Commerce, seeks information from  the public on NIST's 
> potential transition of time services  from a NIST-only service to 
> private sector operation of  an ensemble of time servers that will 
> provide NIST-traceable  time information in a number of different 
> formats over the  public Internet.

Certichron (Time-Evidence Services) via
 <ustiming.org> (USTS) The United States Time Server Foundation
  is already doing that?
 They are already a significant portion of the NIST NTP servers;
  They operate Eleven out of Thirty Four (Thirty Two Percent).

 They have Commercial Private Access NTP servers / services as well.

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