During emergencies cellular networks can experience congestion due to increased call volumes and/or damage to network facilities, hindering the ability of national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) personnel to complete emergency calls. The Wireless Priority Service (WPS) provides NS/EP personnel priority access and prioritized processing in all nationwide and several regional cellular networks, greatly increasing the probability of call completion. WPS is intended to be used in an emergency or crisis situation when cellular networks are congested and the probability of completing a normal cellular call is reduced. WPS is an easy-to-use, add-on feature subscribed to on a per-cell phone basis. It is deployed by cellular service providers throughout the United States. WPS calls will receive priority over normal cellular calls; however, WPS calls do not preempt calls in progress or deny the general public’s use of cellular networks. WPS is in a constant state of readiness.
WPS is a White House-directed emergency phone service managed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC). WPS complies with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Second Report and Order, FCC 00-242, Establishment of Rules and Requirements For Priority Access Service.
OEC also provides the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS), which provides NS/EP personnel priority calling over landline phones with the use of a calling card. For information on GETS, go to the GETS Home Page.