When disaster strikes, it generally brings a paralyzing sense of uncertainty for those in the affected zones and family and friends on the outside. Survival becomes the top priority, and outsiders feel helpless not knowing the condition of loved ones and what help is needed for rescue and repair. Satellite communications links, often the only form of functioning communications in the aftermath of disasters, provide hope to families and friends, and critical information for rescue and relief efforts.
Recent extreme weather events including hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires, have increased reliance on SATCOM across the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean as search and rescue teams depend on remote communications solutions for reach back and situational awareness.
Considered the heaviest hurricane season in recent history, 2017’s major hurricanes to date Harvey, Irma, Jose, and now Maria had ravaged the continental United States and nearby islands, including Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The storms have knocked out critical infrastructure including power lines and telecommunications towers on these islands, leaving people in remote areas in particular in great danger.
In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, Lepton Global has supported private companies with exposed facilities and infrastructure as well as DHS customers responding in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the USVI. The Lepton team has worked tirelessly throughout the hurricane season to provide high-quality Ku-band links, deployable satellite equipment, VoIP phone lines, and on-site technicians to ensure communications capabilities on the ground.
Due to the overwhelming response requirements from customers, Lepton increased the capacity on our Horizons 1 network in August to provide up to 10Mbps download speeds to our clients in the affected areas. We have deployed technicians across Florida, Virginia, Puerto Rico, and the USVI within 24 hours of a request to bring VSAT systems online for deployment. We have provided over 40 VoIP lines to our customers on the ground. Lepton’s satellite communications have enabled the coordination of relief efforts with local and federal rescue teams and allowed the transmission of high call volumes by victims and responders.
Lepton’s agility and experience supporting short-notice requirements enable us to respond with urgency to catastrophic events. Customers appreciate the flexibility and customization of our plans, and annual occasional use support contracts have proven vital in the wake of recent events. One of our corporate customers in Tampa uses Lepton’s COOP (Continuity of Operations) solution as a part of their risk management plan. In exchange for a low monthly service plan charge, this customer can call on Lepton to provide a complete communications suite, including a technician, within 24 hours of notice.
In August, this customer requested such a satellite communications package 3 days ahead of Hurricane Irma striking Florida. Lepton immediately deployed a pre-configured, pre-tested portable VSAT system with high bandwidth network access, pre-configured VoIP phones, Wi-Fi routers, and various power solutions customized by our team to fit their needs. In the off-season, this customer receives annual on-site training and a guaranteed 24-hour turnaround in the event of an emergency.
Lepton’s experience this hurricane season is a reminder of the role that satellite communications technology provides both to government and military relief efforts, and to businesses during emergency scenarios. As climate change continues to occur and extreme weather events seem to be increasing, we are expanding our disaster response and continuity of operations solutions and capabilities, and we encourage our customers to strengthen risk management plans for communications considerations involving SATCOM.
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