HC Deb 19 March 1998 vol 308 cc687-8W
Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the potential for date-related problems with the Global Positioning Satellite(a) during 1999 and (b) at the turn of the century; how they are being resolved; and if he will make a statement. [34508]

Ms Glenda Jackson

As the Global Positioning System (GPS) is a US military system, date-related problems with it are primarily a matter for the US Department of Defense. The US GPS Joint Program Office has issued advice about 1999 (known as the GPS End of Week (EOW) rollover issue) and Year 2000 date-related issues. The US maintains that there are no problems with the system but the timing mechanism within GPS satellites may cause a problem with some older generation GPS civil receivers. Although manufacturers are aware of the problems and have taken, or are taking, action to remedy them, users are recommended to check with the manufacturer of the equipment that they own or use.

In the UK, as precautionary measures, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Marine Safety Agency (MSA—as from 1 April 1998 the Maritime and Coastguard Agency) are planning to issue advice to the aviation and maritime communities. The CAA is planning to publish an Airworthiness Notice specifically on the 1999 EOW rollover issue and is considering the dissemination of further advice on the Year 2000 issue. The MSA is planning to publish a Marine Guidance Note on issues relating to the Year 2000 and this will include advice about both GPS date-related issues.

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