Intelsat S.A. announced its support of multiple organisations providing relief services in the Caribbean as well as helping local and U.S. businesses recover from the three hurricanes that devastated the regions.
Beginning in late August and lasting through most of September, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria created widespread destruction across many island nations in the Caribbean as well as the southern United States. The storms left businesses and thousands of residents without basic necessities, and the loss of communications services has disrupted national and local economics and hampered the efforts of relief organisations trying to help residents recover and begin rebuilding.
Intelsat is providing communications services using its Globalised Network and IntelsatOne Flex managed service, a customisable offering that aggregates space segment, the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellites and the IntelsatOne terrestrial network into a simplified, unified ecosystem to quickly deliver bandwidth where it is needed most.
Intelsat’s support efforts began even before the first storm approached land, initiating disaster recovery and restoration plans for customers across the media, broadband and mobility sectors with operations established in the projected paths of the storms. In some cases, customers transitioned hub operations and relocated staff to Intelsat teleport locations, maintaining unimpaired operations throughout the storms.
Intelsat’s satellites and teleports also provided restoration services and helped deliver news coverage in the wake of the storms. With broadcasters being significantly impacted by the flood in Houston, Intelsat’s Galaxy 16 satellite was used to provide vital connectivity to re-establish services. In Puerto Rico, capacity was allocated to provide connectivity from New York to the devastated island.
In addition to assisting existing commercial accounts with the protection of their networks, Intelsat has served an invaluable role in delivering broadband capabilities to first responders. On Saint John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Intelsat is supporting the Global Disaster Immediate Response Team (DIRT), an international, non-governmental organization (NGO) that responds quickly in the wake of disasters to provide medical assistance, communications access, and search and rescue support. Global DIRT is using IntelsatOne Flex services, antennas and kits donated by Intelsat to support communications at multiple sites, including a medical clinic, and also coordinating multiple NGOs operating on the island.
Intelsat is also contributing support to BT’s Satellite Emergency Response Team, a group of engineers based in the United Kingdom, whom quickly responds to disasters. The team set up in local community centers across Turks & Caicos, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla to deploy broadband connectivity services.
In Puerto Rico, Intelsat is working with antenna manufacturer Kymeta to deliver mobile communications to Liberty Global Puerto Rico in support of Liberty’s Wi-Fi tour. Three vehicles, dubbed Liberty 1, 2 and 3 are travelling throughout Puerto Rico for the over the next eight weeks as part of a caravan that will deliver basic necessities and Internet connectivity to residents in 29 remote towns. Intelsat donated high-throughput bandwidth from the Intelsat EpicNG network and Intelsat’s managed services platform. Working with Kymeta’s roof-mounted, electronically steered flat panel antennas installed on the vehicles, this combination delivers connectivity of up to 20 Mbps forward and 1Mbps return.
Intelsat is also helping return communications to normal levels in Puerto Rico, including working with AT&T and Verizon to provide VSAT services to restore communications for enterprise customers. The Intelsat Ku-band broadband service is helping banks and pharmacies open for customers again as well as providing communications support for the Puerto Rican government and FEMA.
Lastly, with disaster response underway, Intelsat was honored to contribute services to a national televised fundraiser. Intelsat, along with our strategic sales partner Vista Worldlink, also supported the broadcast of One Voice: Somos Live! A Concert for Disaster Relief on Oct. 14. The telethon and concert was held to bring awareness about the devastation of the storms and to raise funds to support Puerto Rico as well as impacted areas in the United States, Mexico and other areas of the Caribbean.
“Satellite solutions are unique in their ability to provide near-instant communications networks in areas where disasters have crippled terrestrial infrastructure,” said Kurt Riegelman, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Intelsat. “The reach and quick response of satellite, including the only geostationary HTS services covering the region, combined with the IntelsatOne Flex managed service, is helping relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of the storms and will also play an important role in helping the islands and their residents return to a normal, day-to-day activities.”