Government telecommunications are a means by which governments can communicate with a vast number of people simultaneously. Usually this type of communication is done through television, the telephone or the Internet. Governments utilize the science and technology of telecommunications — connecting an analog or digital transmitter with a compatible receiver via a cable or wire, or a wireless device — to broadcast messages to the public, to selected governmental personnel, or to a targeted group of people.
During the last century, government telecommunications have been used extensively for a variety of purposes. During times of war, both terrorists and governments have used radio and television to broadcast their propaganda. In the same vein, political movements have utilized telecommunications to distribute patriotic messages.
In several countries around the world, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established regulations in an attempt to ensure standardized regulations for international radio and government telecommunications. The ITU was founded in 1865 and is a specialized agency of the United Nations. The organization's longevity and affiliation with the UN help to give its standards a relatively higher status and international recognition than similar organizations.
The most common forms of telecommunications today are the television, telephone and the Internet. Within these three broad categories are such individual services as voicemail, teleconferencing, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). Government telecommunications can be enhanced and diversified in order to make the most efficient use of their budgets while best serving their needs by choosing an integrated package of these and other telecommunications services into an all-encompassing network.
One type of telecommunications network is that in which a local and long-distance telephone system connects a caller with an intended receiver by way of a physical and/or wireless interface linked together through routing devices usually referred to as switches or nodes. These switches enable each user to be connected to one node. This is done by routing the information in small pieces, which then proceed independently through the network.
Another network type that could be used in government telecommunications is the broadcast network. This is generally considered to be more efficient than the switched network because each transmission is simultaneously broadcast to every node in the network through one communications channel. An example of this is a wired local area network (LAN). With this technology, one user is connected to each node, with the nodes usually grouped together in a ring or star design.