After Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm on the U.S. Gulf Coast in August, Intelsat and its customer Cubic provided critical internet connectivity to first responders and residents in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

According to news reports, Hurricane Laura rolled onto shore with winds upwards of 150 mph. It devastated large swaths of Louisiana, killing at least 28 people and causing severe flooding. At its peak, the storm knocked out power to nearly 615,000 homes and businesses.  

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Cubic and Intelsat sprang into action, providing crucial internet connectivity to the area’s first responders, medical personnel and other local residents for eight days while their traditional communications infrastructure was re-established.

“We understand the importance of bringing connectivity to help people in times of need,” said Intelsat General Sales Director Dan Ortiz. “People are trying to contact family, deal with insurance, find an alternate place to stay or any other needs they may find themselves in after a life-altering crisis like this. Not to mention the first responders who need the internet to stay connected and complete critical tasks.”

“Our GATR systems and support personnel have been deployed in response to natural disasters since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Our ability to quickly deploy in devastating situations is really a testament to the ease of use for both products,” said Jackson Lamar, Advisor Customer Support for Cubic/GATR. “We are proud to be able to use our technology to restore communications and assist in Hurricane Laura recovery efforts.

Cubic deployed its GATR inflatable, ultra-portable satellite antennas and the GATR 950 modem –powered by Intelsat’s FlexGround service – to several different sites in the Lake Charles area, providing:

  • Communications-infrastructure support to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, supporting the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) coordination as they worked to aid and provide relief for hospital staff.
  • Connectivity for a  Red Cross site in Hacketts Corner, Louisiana, including internet access to help local residents call home and use instant messaging; the connectivity was also used for coordination between other Red Cross distribution points throughout the area.
  • Communications for Team Rubicon, a veterans organization that serves communities by helping people prepare, respond and recover from disasters, including helping volunteers coordinate between sites and providing a hotspot for local residents to contact loved ones.

With the increase in severe weather activity during the 2020 hurricane season, both Cubic and Intelsat are standing ready to provide this critical connectivity technology to additional communities in need.

To learn more about how FlexGround can support your first responder needs, click here.

At Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, the 2.4-meter GATR antenna, powered by Intelsat FlexGround, provided internet for local residents to call family. Photo credit Jackson Lamar, Cubic/GATR
The GATR 1.2m terminal using Intelsat’s FlexGround network at Team Rubicon’s camp in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Photo credit Jackson Lamar, Cubic/GATR