[time-nuts] NIST time services

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 19 09:00:33 EDT 2014

On 3/18/14 10:18 PM, Tom Van Baak wrote:
> If you can design a system that can handle 6.5 billion requests per day, this opportunity is for you...
> https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DOC/NIST/AcAsD/RFI_InternetTimeServiceComments/listing.html
> Solicitation Number: RFI_InternetTimeServiceComments

For those that are unfamiliar with the ways of US Government 
contracting, this is NOT a request for proposals to provide the service. 
It's more of a preliminary step to identify potential bidders, gather 
background information, shake the trees to find out who the potential 
players are, as well as help make a decision on whether it's even a good 
idea.  (e.g. it might feature into a make vs buy report)

We do this at NASA when we want to make sure we haven't missed something 
in the marketplace.  These days, Government folks don't go to as many 
conferences and almost no trade shows.  So you find out what's available 
by exercising google or bing, which is not such a great way to find 
niche products and services.  Someone who's got a great way to do 
reliable, accurate time distribution over the internet might not have a 
big web presence, or might be overshadowed by something similar that has 
been heavily Search Engine Optimized.

This is also a way for people who aren't necessarily interested in 
providing the service to give comments to NIST about potential issues 
that may be of concern.  Those kinds of comments might wind up changing 
the eventual procurement, or might even result in a report that says 
"nope, not worth privatizing this, because of reasons A, B, and C". 
that's the crux of question 7 at the end "What are advantages and 
disadvantages of NIST's potential transition of time services from a 
NIST-only service to private sector operation..."

A lot of the questions at the end of the RFI are things that get 
discussed on time-nuts from time to time.

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