This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The authorities responsible for emergency services in Israel have begun a study which involves the possible deployment of a satellite based emergency communications network. Details of the study were revealed by Moshe (Chico) Tamir, VP Security and Homeland Security at Gilat satellite networks.
This Israeli company is a world leader in the development and supply of military and civilian satellite based communications networks. “Our systems are already in service in the U.S and with many other customers,” Tamir told I-HLS.
Communications provides the critical path for the delivery of relief services in situations involving emergencies and disasters. It also allows for the connection and logistical movement of rescue and first responder resources in any region of the world; regardless of whether these emergency resources are facing or recovering from natural or man-made disasters.
The deployment of wireless communications is typically among the first priorities in any emergency response, rescue, or relief situation. However, terrestrial wireless equipment (cell phones or land mobile radios) is only useful when communications towers and other fixed equipment are in place to connect wireless equipment to the local and global communications backbone. In the majority of emergency situations, this infrastructure may have been destroyed during the disaster. This reality makes it critical for local government and emergency workers to have access to a wireless communications network that is not dependant on terrestrial infrastructure.
Satellite communications provides such a solution as satellites are the only wireless communications infrastructure not susceptible to damage from disasters. This results from the fact that the main repeaters sending and receiving signals (satellite spacecraft) are located outside the Earth’s atmosphere. In recent years, the cost of satellite bandwidth has dropped so dramatically that it has become competitive in costs with both DSL and cable solutions. While the price of this technology over the years gone by may have placed it out of reach for many disaster recovery plans, this is no longer the case.
Tamir said that the company supplies all types of satellite communication terminals including some models that have been combined with cellular cells. Moshe Tamir added, “Should a vehicle of this type arrive at an area that was destroyed through hostilities or a natural disaster, it would enable people who were trapped to use their cell phones to call for help.”
The company has also developed very small satellite communication terminals allowing for more flexible use of them in all types of emergency situations.