In a development reminiscent of B-movie science fiction, errors with the Global Positioning System network have created issues in digital radio broadcasts. Listeners in the UK experienced difficulties with receiving DAB signals due to the decommissioning of a GPS satellite on Jan. 26.
The U.S. Air Force said that shutting down the one unit caused software problems for several other satellites in the network. Since DAB transmitters lock on to GPS signals in order to sync up and broadcast at exactly the same frequencies, the errors created discrepancies of 13 microseconds. Small as it is, those 13 microseconds were enough to cause radio trouble for several hours.