The 1889 definition of the metre, based on the international prototype of platinum-iridium, was replaced by the 11th CGPM (1960) using a definition based on the wavelength of krypton 86 radiation. This change was adopted in order to improve the accuracy with which the definition of the metre could be realized, the realization being achieved using an interferometer with a travelling microscope to measure the optical path difference as the fringes were counted. In turn, this was replaced in 1983 by the 17th CGPM (1983, Resolution 1) that specified the current definition, as follows:
The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second.
It follows that the speed of light in vacuum is exactly 299 792 458 metres per second, c0 = 299 792 458 m/s.
The original international prototype of the metre, which was sanctioned by the 1st CGPM in 1889, is still kept at the BIPM under conditions specified in 1889.
The symbol, c0 (or sometimes simply c), is the conventional symbol for the speed of light in vacuum.