Federal Reserve Release, Press Release; image with eagle logo links to home page
Release Date: December 3, 2002

For immediate release

The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday announced revisions to its policy and procedures for sponsoring private-sector organizations under federal programs that provide priority telecommunications services to entities that are important to national security and emergency preparedness.

The Board believes these programs, which are administered by the National Communications System (NCS), will help facilitate the operation and liquidity of banks and the stability of financial markets, particularly during periods of substantial operational disruptions.

The Board currently sponsors a number of private-sector financial organizations for priority provision and restoration of telecommunications circuits under the NCS's Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) program. The sponsorship covers circuits used in large-value interbank funds transfer, securities bidding and transfer, and payment-related services.

The Board is announcing an expansion of its sponsorship criteria for the TSP program. In addition, the Board is adopting sponsorship criteria for the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service program, which provides emergency access and priority processing of local and long-distance calls over the terrestrial public switched network, and for the Wireless Priority Service program, which provides priority routing of cellular calls during periods of severe network congestion.

The new criteria are effective upon publication in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly.

The NCS was established in 1963 to provide priority communications to support critical government functions during emergencies. In 1984, the NCS became an interagency group of twenty-two federal departments and agencies, including the Federal Reserve Board. To be eligible for Board sponsorship, organizations must be essential to the performance of national security and emergency preparedness needed to maintain the national economic posture during a national or regional emergency.

The Board's notice is attached.

Attachment (64 KB PDF)

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Last update: December 3, 2002