Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) is a program that authorizes national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) organizations to receive priority treatment for vital voice and data circuits or other telecommunications services. As a result of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and other natural or man-made disasters, telecommunications service vendors frequently experience a surge in requests for new services and requirements to restore existing services. The TSP program provides service vendors a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate to prioritize requests by identifying those services critical to NS/EP. A TSP assignment ensures that it will receive priority attention by the service vendor before any non-TSP service.
The TSP program's goal is to ensure priority treatment for our nation's most important NS/EP telecommunications services. NS/EP services are those used to maintain a state of readiness or to respond to and manage any event or crisis (local, national, or international) that causes or could cause injury or harm to the population, damage to or loss of property, or degrades or threatens the NS/EP posture of the United States. The TSP program rules, as specified in the TSP Report and Order (FCC 88-341), authorize priority treatment to the following telecommunications services:
- Common carrier services that are interstate and foreign telecommunications services
- Common carrier services that are intrastate telecommunications services inseparable from interstate or foreign telecommunications services, and intrastate telecommunications services to which TSP priority levels are assigned
- Services that are provided by government and/or non-common carriers and are interconnected to common carrier services assigned TSP priority levels.
In addition, priority treatment may be authorized at the discretion of, and upon special arrangements by the NS/EP TSP Program users involved, to government or non-common carrier services which are not connected to common carrier provided services, and portions of U.S. international services which are provided by foreign correspondents.
When circumstances require installation of a new telecommunications service faster than a service vendor's normal processes allow, an organization may request provisioning priority. This can be an immediate installation following an emergency or an installation by a specific date, also known as an essential provisioning.
Restoration priority is for new or existing telecommunication services and requires that service vendors restore them before non-TSP services. Restoration priority helps minimize service interruptions that may have a serious, adverse effect on the supported NS/EP functions. Organizations must request TSP restoration priority on its circuits before a service outage.