Inmarsat and Hughes Network Systems, LLC announced they have donated mobile satellite communications technology and services to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for use in developing nations facing natural and man-made disasters. The donation includes 30 Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals, manufactured by Hughes, and $1.2 million worth of satellite airtime from Inmarsat, leveraging the ELERA network. Hughes and Inmarsat will also provide technical training to ITU personnel so they can deliver a turn-key communications solution for humanitarian aid workers responding to emergencies anywhere in the world.
Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, ITU, said: “We rely enormously on donations from our members to deliver critical technologies and disaster mitigation to countries in need. This donation from Inmarsat and Hughes will help in preparing for disasters before they strike, and in the immediate aftermath, by restoring vital communication links between first responders and communities, and by helping teams on the ground coordinate life-saving rescue and relief activities. The scale of our work simply wouldn’t be possible without such donations.”
Rajeev Suri, CEO, Inmarsat, said: “Satellite communications are a lifeline in the aftermath of disasters, ensuring that relief efforts can be deployed rapidly, even when terrestrial communications have been knocked-out. We have immense gratitude for the vital work the ITU and their partner organisations do around the world to help communities facing disaster and conflict. We look forward to continuing this partnership, to help more communities and humanitarian workers in their hour of need.”
Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes, said: “We are proud to join Inmarsat in donating these crucial technologies to support the life-saving work of the ITU. Connecting communities struck by disaster – and the emergency workers supporting them – is best accomplished with satellite connectivity.”
Within the first hours of a disaster or conflict, the ITU will lend the mobile satellite terminals to relief teams that can use the rugged, portable devices and Inmarsat satellite capacity to set up voice and data connectivity where it’s needed most for rescue and relief efforts. With access to global satellite capacity and 30 terminals, the ITU will be able to deploy satellite connectivity to support multiple communities in need at any one time.