ITU armed with 70 BGANs to enhance disaster relief
Date: Fri, 10/09/2009 - 11:26
Inmarsat has enhanced its commitment to disaster response with a donation of 70 BGAN terminals to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
Inmarsat and Vizada jointly donated the BGAN terminals, capable of providing simultaneous telephone and broadband connections, to enable the United Nations (UN) agency to help countries better prepare for disaster response.
Vizada, a leading Inmarsat Distribution Partner (DP) will also offer preferential airtime rates and technical support to the ITU for the BGAN devices.
Inmarsat chairman and chief executive Andy Sukawaty said the agreement further extends the use of Inmarsat equipment for disaster relief.
"Inmarsat was founded on the principle that communications can save lives, and there is no better use for our services than that," said Andy.
"We remain deeply committed to continuing our involvement in disaster relief programmes, and to strengthening our partnership with the ITU."
Vizada's chief executive for EMEA and Asia, Erik Ceuppens, said: "We provide reliable, cost-effective and rapidly-deployable mobile services to NGO customers around the world and are delighted to leverage our experience in this latest project for the ITU."
Following the launch of its ITU Framework for Co-operation in Emergencies, industry leaders in technology, financing and airfreight services are now able to rally around the ITU's rapid response efforts, helping countries hit by disasters through the use of information communications technology (ICT) when terrestrial networks are disrupted or destroyed.
ITU chief of emergency telecommunications Cosmas Zavazava said: "The ITU continues to attract partners committed to using technology to save lives. This people-oriented partnership is one such example."
UN-backed emergency communications, including BGAN terminals, have been deployed recently to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Sumatra, the tsunami that struck American Samoa and other South Pacific islands and the double-cyclone crossing The Philippines.
Inmarsat-sponsored Télécoms Sans Frontières mobilised to each disaster to set up emergency communications centres and provide humanitarian calling facilities for affected populations.