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Satellite communications to bolster emergency response
Photo credit: Courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation

ITU, Intelsat and ITSO agree to collaborate

ITU reached an agreement with Intelsat S.A. and the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) in March 2011 to strengthen emergency telecommunication resources. The collaboration aims to speed up the restoration of vital communications infrastructure in the aftermath of natural disasters.

“Recent catastrophes that have wrought havoc around the world demonstrate eloquently that there is an increasing need for effective and timely deployment of telecommunication resources to help countries in emergency and disaster relief,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “This agreement between ITU, Intelsat and ITSO will go a long way in increasing our early response capabilities and in re-establishing the communication links that are so vital in rescue and relief operations.”

Recognizing that satellite technology, with its ubiquitous coverage and rapid deployment, is ideally suited for response to communications needs in emergency situations, the agreement between ITU, Intelsat and ITSO brings together key players in the satellite industry to address the emergency communication needs of countries worldwide. Following a request from a Member State for assistance in the aftermath of a natural disaster, ITU will inform Intelsat of the request for satellite capacity and other related needs. Intelsat and ITSO will then consult about donating satellite capacity.

Intelsat is one of the world’s leading providers of satellite telecommunications services, with a footprint covering more than 200 countries. Intelsat was privatized in 2001.

ITSO, an intergovernmental organization, ensures that Intelsat complies with its contractual obligations to provide international public telecommunications services, including voice, data and video, on a global and non-discriminatory basis. ITSO Director General José Toscano said, “When emergencies occur in remote or geographically isolated places, satellite providers like Intelsat are often the ideal solution for solving the communications needs.”

“Intelsat, with over 50 satellites in orbit around the world, is often the enabler of the first communications links re-established following a natural disaster. We will collaborate with ITU and ITSO to streamline the provisioning of connectivity and communications infrastructure that support critical humanitarian services during emergencies,” said Intelsat CEO Dave McGlade.

The agreement between ITU, Intelsat and ITSO is an outcome of the Hyderabad Plan of Action adopted by the World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2010, which called for private sector participation to help close the gap in universal access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and to support emergency communications in particular.

ITU Telecom World 2011 to bring together government and industry leaders

ITU Telecom World 2011, to be held at Geneva’s Palexpo from 24 to 27 October, will bring together chief executive officers of industry and world leaders, government ministers and technology gurus, city mayors and grassroots technology pioneers to share views and experiences and come up with a manifesto for a connected world.

A strong presence is expected from major companies such as Airtel, Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, China Mobile, Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Intel, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung, Swisscom and Verizon.

The event, which celebrates 40 years of ITU Telecom serving the ICT industry, has been overhauled for 2011, expanding its focus to high-level networking, knowledge sharing and consensus building, away from the more exhibition-centred format of previous years.

Highlights of ITU Telecom World 2011 will include:

  • A Broadband Leadership Summit for Heads of State and Government, CEOs of major companies and heads of United Nations agencies.

  • A Digital Cities Conference to address how the wider industry can address the key challenges of urbanization.

  • Forum debates and knowledge sharing discussions on major industry themes such as innovation, the business of spectrum, broadband access and cybersecurity.

  • National and thematic pavilions showcasing innovations and advancements in connected technologies and how they are being used to improve quality of life in such areas as health care, education, finance and entertainment.

For more information on how organizations and individuals can become involved in ITU Telecom World 2011, visit:


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