Even if you think you’ve had enough of 2016, there’s going to be one more second added at the very end. And it will affect your Exede or WildBlue internet service.
Here’s what’s going on:
The earth’s spin is not constant. Atomic clocks — which tell us the time, set television broadcast frequencies and communicate with GPS satellites — must be periodically adjusted to sync with the earth’s rotation. This little tweak is called a “leap second,” and the world’s timekeepers have added this second every few years since 1972. The next leap second change will occur on Dec. 31, at 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. (More precisely, it’ll be at 23:59:60 UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time.)
What does this mean for you?
ViaSat, provider of Exede and Wildblue Internet, must also add a leap second to the clocks for the devices that provide your internet service. Our Network Operations Center in Denver will take care of this on Jan. 3-4 by resetting your modem. This will cause a service interruption between 11 p.m. Jan. 3 and 6 a.m. Mountain Time Jan. 4. The interruption will likely be between 15 minutes and 1 hour.
In addition to your internet service, you may notice other impacts of the leap second. Financial markets, GPS services and other areas that rely on time and computers may also be affected.