Open Competition 3 - Information Technology
Disaster-Proof Telecommunications Technology
Develop a system to guarantee telephone call delivery and dial tone in order to maintain telecommunications continuity during and following terror attack, natural disaster, equipment failure, or human error by combining the capabilities of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the Internet.
Sponsor: Telecontinuity, Inc.9700 Great Seneca Highway
Rockville, MD 20850
TeleContinuity proposes to develop a seamless, low-cost, network-level solution that will restore incoming telephone service to users within minutes of a terror attack, PBX failure, fiber cut, fire, flood, building evacuation, or other catastrophic event. TeleContinuity's technology will enable users to be reached at their existing telephone extensions--via any network, any device, and at any location--as though no service disruption had ever occurred. Business or government operations can resume within minutes following a communications disruption, minimizing or even eliminating the economic and/or governmental impact that would have resulted from the interruption. TeleContinuity proposes to link the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with the flexibility, survivability, and robustness of the Internet to create a unique, seamless, and ubiquitous telephone disaster recovery capability able to be deployed within minutes. In the event of a disaster, telephone traffic will be routed around network congestion and network failure points by a combination of path diversity, network diversity, geographic dispersion, and distributed network architecture. TeleContinuity represents a shift from traditional disaster recovery and business continuity solutions which have historically focused on location-based backup facilities and centralized telecom infrastructures. The Department of Information Science and Telecommunications at the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA), a subcontractor, will develop algorithms for allocating bandwidth under Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) conditions, evaluate voice quality in several configurations, and assess prototype functionality in a laboratory setting. The highest technical risk lies in integrating the control software that redirects lines, demonstrating the system can function under extreme conditions, and delivering voice quality without excessive delay. Because this 18-month project is considered high risk and early stage, venture capital firms and strategic partners are unwillingly to invest. To secure private funding, ATP funding is needed to build the prototype, test the system, and demonstrate that the technology works. Insurance carriers will pay $40 billion to cover losses from the Sept. 11 attacks with more than $11 billion to cover claims for business-interruption alone. Since then, insurance premiums have risen 30 percent. A reliable disaster-proof telecommunications technology could potentially save billions of dollars by lowering insurance premiums and mitigating business losses. This technology also could stimulate the telecommunications industry by opening a new disaster recovery market, estimated to be $2 billion by 2006. This technology could also fulfill in part stipulations for federal legislation to provide a range of services and products necessary to defend against unconventional attacks on critical infrastructure.