Philippines Search and Rescue Teams Aided by BGAN Satellite Communications
Lives were saved after Typhoon Conson struck the Philippines on July 13, 2010, in part due to BGAN mobile satellite communications. A BGAN-powered emergency telecoms kit donated a few months earlier by an Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency was used by the Philippines National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) to direct rescuers to areas most badly affected.
Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) is intended for mobile satellite communication users who need reliable broadband access when working in locations where telecoms networks are poor or non-existent. Reliable mobile satellite communications can be an excellent solution.
In the Philippines it was a life-saving solution. Power and land communications were lost in several regions due to severe flooding caused by the typhoon and at least 24,000 people were affected; 79 of them were killed. But it could have been worse.
Satellite Communications Proved Essential
The BGAN-powered emergency mobile communication kit deployed on July 14 enabled the regional disaster coordinating center to maintain contact with search and rescue teams working to find and assist survivors on one of the islands. Frederic Bragas, information and communications technology officer for the NDCC, who was trained to use the kit by Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), also reported that over 200 emails of alerts, situation reports and weather bulletins were sent via BGAN in one single day.
The kit (one of ten donated) contains a satellite terminal, data transmitter to establish internet connections, IT equipment and a solar-based power box. BGAN offers simultaneous satellite voice and broadband data when both terrestrial phone and data networks are not available.
Reliable communications are essential, not only in emergency situations, but wherever traditional telecommunications are not a reliable option. The BGAN-powered mobile satellite communication system proved itself during Typhoon Conson.
Source: Inmarsat and International Satellite Services Inc.