Capacity donation part of Intelsat’s ongoing work with UN Emergency Telecommunications Cluster

cyclone harold response blog
Restoring communications on the island of Vanuatu in the Solomon Islands.

Much needed communication relief has arrived on the remote of island of Vanuatu in the Solomon Islands. Cyclone Harold battered this area in early April, making landfall as a Category 5 storm, the second strongest tropical cyclone to ever hit the country.

The storm caused extensive damage and knocked out communication networks, broadcast radio and television infrastructure, and power.

Intelsat, as part of its work with the United Nations Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), is donating telecom capacity to the hard-hit island area on the Intelsat 18 satellite’s South Hemi beam.

This vital communication support will help connect the islands to the mainland areas, enabling families to get in touch with their loved ones, and spur support for additional post-storm efforts.

All this is taking place at the same time most Pacific Island countries are in states of emergency due to COVID-19 and have enforced restrictions on travel, limiting the ability to ship equipment to the region.

“We are happy to help the islands during this time of need,” said Colleen Parent, Senior Networks Product Manager at Intelsat. “With shipping restrictions due to COVID-19, we shifted from our initial approach involving shipped-in equipment to instead make use of equipment already on the ground. Having the flexibility to support different services on IS-18 enabled us to help these island communities get back on their feet.”

The UN ETC is a global network of organizations that work together to provide shared communications services in humanitarian emergencies. Intelsat is also a signatory of the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Crisis Connectivity Charter, which sets out a process to accelerate access to satellite-based communications when local networks are affected after a disaster.

For more on Intelsat’s commitment to giving back, please read our latest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report.