GETS FAQ Search our GETS Knowledge Base
The Government Emergency Telecommunications
Service (GETS) provides National Security/Emergency Preparedness
(NS/EP) personnel a high probability of completion for their phone
calls when normal calling methods are unsuccessful. It is designed
for periods of severe network congestion or disruption, and works
through a series of enhancements to the Public Switched Telephone
Network (PSTN). GETS is in a constant state of readiness. Users
receive a GETS “calling card” to access the service.
This card provides access phone numbers, Personal Identification
Number (PIN), and simple dialing instructions.
is GETS important to me?
Natural disasters, power outages, cable cuts,
and software problems can cripple the telephone services of an entire
region. Congestion alone (e.g., the Mother’s Day phenomenon)
can prevent access to circuits. During times of emergency, the NS/EP
community needs to know their calls will go through.
do I use GETS?
GETS is used in an emergency or crisis situation
when the PSTN is overloaded (congested) and the ability to complete
a call by normal means is significantly decreased.
does GETS work?
GETS is accessed through a universal number (provided to qualified
users on a GETS dialing card) using everyday telephone equipment
(e.g., standard desk set, fax, modem, STU III). A series of prompts
direct you to enter your 12-digit card number and destination phone
number. Once authenticated, your call receives priority treatment.
can I use GETS?
GETS is primarily designed for calls within
the United States and its territories. You can request international
calling privileges for calls to or from international destinations.
However, note that GETS provides priority treatment only in the
United States portion of the call.
I need extra hardware or software?
No. You will only need a GETS card, which will
have both the universal access number and a Personal Identification
GETS work on my cell phone?
You can place a GETS call from any cell phone.
However, it will not receive priority treatment until it reaches
a landline network. To receive priority treatment in wireless networks,
you must register for the Wireless
Priority Service (WPS),
functions does GETS support?
- Presidential Communication
- Continuity of Operations (COOP)
- Disaster Response
- Agency essential emergency functions
- State Emergency Operations Centers
- Emergency Broadcast Interface
- International interface for diplomatic and
features and enhancements does GETS provide?
GETS provides a higher probability of call completion
even in damaged or congested networks by providing numerous enhancements
and key features.
- Toll-free access number with alternate numbers
for direct carrier access
- Access control using Personal Identification Numbers
- Failsafe access - if the access control system
fails, GETS calls would automatically be allowed to complete
- Enhanced routing to one of the three interexchange
(long distance) carriers
- Alternate carrier routing in the event one of the
carriers is unavailable
- Priority treatment with trunk queuing, sub-grouping,
- Exemption from restrictive network management
controls during congestion
- International calling (when requested and authorized
- Interoperability with other networks
- Number translation (for special users)
How much does GETS cost?
The only charge is for usage when making calls using a
GETS card. GETS calls are billed at a rate of 7 cents or 10 cents
per minute (depending on carrier and other factors) for calls within
the United States and its territories, Canada, and most of the Caribbean.
International calls are billed at commercial rates, though international
calling privileges are restricted to those cards so authorized by
your organization's Point of Contact (POC) or alternate.
Federal government organizations are exempt from
billing until an annual threshold for GETS calls has been
exceeded. However, the NCS reserves the right to bill federal users
for GETS calls if there has been fraud, waste, or abuse using your
For organizations outside the Federal government,
a Program Designator Code (PDC) is required to establish a billing
account for payment of GETS calls placed by members of your organization.
GETS charges are payable to our contracting office, the Defense
Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO). Details
on paying these charges would be included with the bill you receive
from them. NOTE: You will not normally be billed for calls to confirm
receipt of individual GETS cards, familiarization calls, or short-duration
test calls to the familiarization line (703-818-3924). However,
we reserve the right to bill for all calls, especially if there
has been fraud, waste, or abuse using your GETS card(s).
How effective is GETS in actual
GETS is designed to provide 90% call completion rates when call
volume is eight times greater than normal capacity. In actual emergencies,
GETS has consistently met or exceeded this completion rate.
How do I
become a GETS user?
If you believe you are eligible,
follow the menu selection for First
Time Requestor. Select your organization type from the menu.
Who do I
contact for further Information?
For questions about applying for GETS or managing your GETS account,
please contact GETS Administration toll free at 866-NCS-CALL (627-2255)
(DC metro area, use 703-760-2255) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general questions about GETS,
please contact GETS Operations at email@example.com.
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