Satellite communications to bolster emergency response

March 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Space Law | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

Source – ITU:

Satellite communications to bolster emergency response
ITU, Intelsat and ITSO agree to collaborate

Geneva, 29 March 2011— ITU reached agreement with Intelsat S.A. and the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) to strengthen emergency telecommunication resources. The collaboration aims to quicken the response to restore vital communications infrastructure in the aftermath of natural disasters.

“Recent catastrophes that have wrought havoc around the world demonstrate eloquently that there is an increasing need for effective and timely deployment of telecommunication resources to help countries in emergency and disaster relief,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré. “This agreement between ITU, Intelsat and ITSO will go a long way in increasing our early response capabilities and in re-establishing the communication links that are so vital in rescue and relief operations.”

Recognizing that satellite technology, with its ubiquitous coverage and rapid deployment, is ideally suited for response to communications needs in emergency situations, the agreement between ITU, Intelsat and ITSO brings together key players in the satellite industry to address the emergency communications needs of countries worldwide. Following the request from a Member State for assistance in the aftermath of a natural disaster, ITU will inform Intelsat of the request for satellite capacity and other related needs. Intelsat will then consult with ITSO and consider donating satellite capacity.

Intelsat is one of the world’s leading providers of satellite telecommunications services, with a footprint covering over 200 countries. ITSO is an intergovernmental organization with a mission to ensure that Intelsat complies with its contractual obligations following its privatization in 2001 to provide international public telecommunications services, including voice, data and video, on a global and non-discriminatory basis.

ITSO Director General José Toscano said, “When emergencies occur in remote or geographically isolated places, satellite providers like Intelsat are often the ideal solution for solving the communications needs.”

“Intelsat, with over 50 satellites in orbit around the world, is often the enabler of the first communications links re-established following a natural disaster. We will collaborate with ITU and ITSO to streamline the provisioning of connectivity and communications infrastructure that support critical humanitarian services during emergencies,” said Intelsat CEO Dave McGlade.

The agreement between ITU, Intelsat and ITSO is an outcome of the Hyderabad Plan of Action adopted by the World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2010 that called for private sector participation to help close the gap in universal access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and to support emergency communications in particular.

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