Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What is GETS? (background note)

Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS)

GETS is an emergency telecommunications service available in the U.S. and overseen by the National Communications System (NCS) -- an office established by the White House under an executive order [1] and now a part of the Department of Homeland Security. Unlike "911", it is only accessible by authorized individuals. The majority of these individuals are from various government agencies like the Department of Transportation, NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (to name but a few). In addition, a select set of individuals from private industry (telecommunications companies, utilities, etc.) that are involved in criticial infrastructure recovery operations are also provided access to GETS.

The purpose of GETS is to achieve a high probability that phone service will be available to selected authorized personnel in times of emergencies, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters that may produce a burden in the form of call blocking (i.e., congestion) on the U.S. Public Switched Telephone Network by the general public.

GETS is based in part on the ANSI T1.631 standard, specifying a High Probability of Completion (HPC) for SS7 signaling [2].

Where we began was with the complete failure of Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, and everything "down rank" from that system, in the Katerina footprint, and the desire to use the fastest possible means to reestablish service.

[1] National Communications System: http://www.ncs.gov
[2] ANSI, "Signaling System No. 7(SS7), High Probability of Completion (HPC) Network Capability", ANSI T1.631-1993, (R1999).

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