Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP)
The Federal government has established a priority services program for the restoration and provisioning of circuits required by entities with National Security/Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) responsibilities and duties. This program is called: Telecommunications Service Priority. All common carriers under the FCC’s jurisdiction are required to offer TSP, oftentimes at pricing set by their respective Public Service or Public Utility Commission (PSC or PUC). The FCC and the Executive Office of the President (EOP) developed and established the NS/EP TSP System as the one uniform system of priorities for the provisioning and restoration of NS/EP telecommunications services. The Federal rules governing the NS/EP TSP System are found in Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 64, Appendix A. Under the TSP Rules, the EOP administers the NS/EP TSP System through its Executive Agent, the National Communications System (NCS), which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The FCC provides regulatory oversight of implementation of the NS/EP TSP System and enforces NS/EP TSP System regulations, while the NCS manages the daily operations of the TSP System.
The TSP program is in effect all the time – it is not contingent on a major disaster or attack taking place. Federal sponsorship is required to enroll in the TSP program.
Who Should Enroll?
You should enroll if your organization is a Federal, state, local, and tribal police department, fire department, public safety answering point or 9-1-1 call center, EMS entity, essential healthcare provider or any other organization that uses telecommunication services necessary for the public health, safety, and maintenance of law and order.
Why Should I Sign Up?
If you rely on telecommunications services on a daily basis to perform critical national security and emergency preparedness functions, including those areas related to safety, maintenance of law and order, and public health, you need TSP. It is an insurance policy of sorts: by enrolling your critical communication lines in the program, by law (FCC regulations), your telecommunication service provider must restore your lines or add new lines according your priority status level. Your telecommunications service provider must take these actions before it can service any of its non-TSP enrolled customers.
This program can be extremely beneficial during a major disaster or attack in which the telecommunications infrastructure is damaged and the lives and property of the American public is most at risk. In such circumstances, telecommunications service providers' restoration crews are often overextended and only those customers enrolled in the TSP program will have their communications services restored in a timely manner.
There are five TSP priority levels. Federal, state, tribal, and local police departments, fire departments, EMS units, and similar entities qualify for Level 3 under communication services necessary for the public health, safety, and maintenance of law and order. The higher priority levels, Levels 1 and 2, include National Security leadership and certain military communications lines. Very few circuits receive a TSP priority Level 1 or Level 2 assignment. If an organization does not enroll its circuits in the TSP program, its telecommunications service provider cannot restore those lines until it has restored all TSP lines in priority levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
How Do I Enroll?
You can enroll if you do not represent a Federal entity. You will need a Federal sponsor to enroll. Contact the FCC or NCS to determine your Federal sponsor. For more detail, see the enrollment guides below.
In your application, you will need to designate those lines meeting national security and emergency preparedness requirements. If your lines qualify, you will receive an authorization code for each line. You then provide those codes to your telecommunications service provider who will complete the process.
|Type of Applicant||Sponsor|
|9-1-1 Call Centers / PSAPs||Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Allan K. Manuel
|First Responders||National Communications System (NCS)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), TSP Program Office
phone: 866-NCS-CALL (627-2255)
phone (DC Metro Area): 703-760-2255
phone (24/7): 703-235-5080
|Health Care Sector||Contact FCC or NCS (see above)|
|State, Local, and Tribal Governments||Contact NCS (see above)|
|All Others||Contact FCC or NCS (see above)|
What Does It Cost?
Enrollment and monthly fees for the TSP program are generally set at the state level by public utility or public service commissions. Typically, one-time per line enrollment fees are approximately $100, and monthly fees per line average $3. Compare those minimal costs to the inability to communicate during a crisis or losses that you would suffer if your critical lines were out of service and you had to wait on your telecommunication service provider to take care of all TSP lines first before it could service its general waiting list of customers.
TSP FAQS and Enrollment Guides
|Emergency Operation Centers||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|First Responders||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|Financial Institutions||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|Healthcare Providers||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|9-1-1 Call Centers/PSAPs||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|Public Utility Commissions||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|Satellite Service Providers||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|State, Local and Tribal Governments||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
|Wireless Service Providers||FAQ||Enrollment Guide|
Release of Program Information
On occasion TSP Service Vendors, the FCC, and NCS receive requests for TSP System information, including the identification of participants in the TSP Program and associated circuit data from interested parties, including PSCs or PUCs.
DHS has regulations regarding the handling of Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII). These uniform procedures govern the receipt, validation, handling, storage, marking, and use of critical infrastructure information voluntarily submitted to the DHS. Further, most Government agencies (and their associated DoD/GSA telecommunications contracts) will not allow certain NS/EP information to be released. The TSP Service Vendors are bound by these Federal rules and cannot provide customer information to others.
All requests for information related to the operations of the TSP System, including information about users and circuits, should be directed, in the first instance, to the Federal Government’s TSP Program Office (TSPPO), managed by the NCS. The TSPPO will respond to the request for information, coordinating, as needed, with the FCC and other invested entities.
Ms. Debbie Bea, Manager, TSPPO
TSP@dhs.gov or By Phone: 703.235.5080
Mr. Allan K. Manuel, Esquire, Deputy Division Chief
firstname.lastname@example.org or By Phone: 202.418.1164
TSP Program Office
National Communications System (NCS), Department of Homeland Security
Phone: 866-NCS-CALL (627-2255)
Phone (DC Metro Area): 703-760-2255
Phone (24/7): 703-235-5080
Fax (DC Metro Area): 703-848-0299