As we prepare for what could be an unusually active – and dangerous – hurricane season we must not forget the often-overlooked invisible threat that natural disasters present. Along with devastation, wreckage, and danger comes lack of connectivity. Disaster-stricken communities are left without internet connection of any kind, isolating them from the rest of the world. Hughes provides the necessary infrastructure that allows local governments to remain connected no matter what conditions a natural disaster brings, thanks to our secure, always-on network. Further, rescue workers and other first responders are able to rely on ubiquitous, resilient satellite communications for exchanging critical information regarding their everchanging situations. When all control is lost for affected individuals, lack of internet can only leave people feeling more helpless. Hughes can grant power back to those who are struggling to recover from natural disasters through satellite broadband access.
The 2020 hurricane season is not only expected to be the worst season in history but introduces an entirely new set of obstacles related to relief and recovery. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are likely to be significantly fewer volunteers, limited access to PPE and complicated evacuation measures. In order to succeed under such extreme circumstances, strategic and reliable communication is not just nice to have – it’s imperative. While restoring power and connectivity will face its own host of COVID-19 related challenges, communication networks must be included in emergency preparedness plans. And satellite connectivity, which is less susceptible to storm damage compared to terrestrial communications, should be part of every government emergency response plan to ensure the necessary resilience and reliability.
Furthermore, due to safety concerns and social distancing mandates, setting up a singular central location for people to take shelter will have a new set of challenges to keep people protected from COVID-19. Here again, advance planning is crucial, as these circumstances demand a new level of effective and collaborative communication. A pop-up connectivity solution, like Hughes SatCell Connect, delivers cellular connectivity anywhere – vital for citizens displaced by natural disaster as well as first responders.
In typical hurricane seasons, disaster recovery planning is essential. With the potential for devastating hurricanes on top of an already devastating pandemic, a plan has never been more crucial. And a disaster recovery plan that includes satellite connectivity offers peace of mind for local government officials, first-responders and communities preparing for the worst. Agencies and businesses reviewing their emergency preparedness plans would do well to consider implementing path-diverse network backup solutions to supplement their terrestrial network connectivity and ensure they’re connected, no matter what emergency scenario arises.