ADS-B question

I am not a pilot so bear with me: I understand that ADS-B is active in the Gulf as of 12/18/09. I believe that this means that ATC can now see most all of the Gulf of Mexico. Is that accurate?
Is it also accurate to say that GA planes will now show up on radar, whether or not the transponder is on?
Any education you can give me is appreciated!

I cross the Gulf all the time and can tell you that they can not see you. It’s like crossing the pond only they can still talk to you via VHF.

Not exactly… HERE’s how ADS-B works. And HERE’s an article about its implementation.

Properly equipped aircraft can be seen.

For more, see these three videos:

FAA’s piece on ADS-B in the Gulf … 192010.asx

Helicopter Association International’s take (long, but informative)

Interview with Petroleum Helicopter’s Chief Pilot

Only aircraft equipped with ADS-B out equipment can be seen. I attended the FAA’s ADS-B presentation at Helicopter Expo in Houston last month and asked how many helicopters were presently equipped. As of last month, only 20 helicopters had the equipment, but more were expected to come on line soon.

I don’t know how they are handling it in the Gulf, but out in oceanic airspace even with the ADS equipped aircraft the aren’t treated as being “in radar”. It is still a non-radar environment. Reduced separation rules between ADS aircraft exist, but they still get a lot more separation then in a radar environment.