Lord Tanlaw and the Greenwich Time Signal

Peter Ilieve peter at aldie.co.uk
Thu Jun 23 20:32:06 UTC 2005

As it's been fairly quiet here recently I thought I would mention
that Lord Tanlaw, the UK peer who tried and failed to have the UK's
legal time changed from GMT to UTC, has been in the news again.
He has been complaining about the inaccuracy of the time signal
broadcast by the BBC (the "pips") due to the delays introduced by
various sorts of digital processing, either by digital radios or
Internet streaming. These pips used to be called the Greenwich Time
Signal as they were produced by the observatory, but responsibilty
for them passed to the BBC some years ago.

He was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday
morning and he asked a question in the House of Lords later in
the day. There was more about it on the Radio 4 PM programme
in the evening, during which a BBC statement was read saying
roughly `we know it's a problem and we will probably have to
do something about it'. The statement made the interesting point
that for DAB digital radios at least, the delay is no worse than
that suffered by someone setting their watch by the chimes of
Big Ben when standing on the other side of Parliament Square.

Lord Tanlaw mentioned that he was a member of the British Horological
Institute on the radio in the morning, and declared this interest
before asking his question in the Lords. That's presumably why
he tried for the change to UTC.

Lord Tanlaw's question is in the Lords Hansard at

If you have Real Player you can probably listen to the radio pieces
by starting at <http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/>. I don't, so I can't
be more specific than that.

         Peter Ilieve        peter at aldie.co.uk

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