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ITU Partnership to Provide Satellite Services for Disaster Management

Geneva, 6 January 2003 - ITU is partnering with Inmarsat Limited to help promote rural telecommunication and support emergency communications in least developed countries. Inmarsat, the London-based satellite consortium, will make a 105 000 Euros financial contribution towards the purchase of 15 Global Area Network (GAN) satellite terminals in beneficiary countries.

Inmarsat will participate in ITU's inclusive, technology-neutral and technology-independent framework for cost-effective and global deployment of technologies to benefit LDCs worldwide. ITU will select the beneficiary countries and will contribute an amount not less than the value of the donated Inmarsat GAN terminals. This amount will be used to pay for airtime and for other expenses associated with the execution of the project.

"Disasters are increasing at a dramatic rate, with particularly severe consequences in least developed countries," said Cosmas Zavazava, Coordinator for the Special Unit for LDCs and Focal Point for Emergency Telecommunications in ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "In such a scenario, reliable and flexible telecommunication resources are a must for humanitarian relief and assistance agencies to perform vital tasks." The project will assist least developed countries in stimulating development of their telecommunication infrastructures in order to enjoy the benefits of participation in the global information society.

"To leverage the potential of ICTs for sustainable universal access, all measures should be taken to partner with like-minded organizations as we are doing now with Inmarsat Limited to bring services to where they are most needed," said Hamadoun Touré, Director of BDT. "Least developed countries with their high vulnerability are, in particular, deserving of every help from the international community as called for by the various Resolutions and Recommendations passed by ITU's membership."

"Inmarsat is pleased to make new technologies and capabilities available to least developed countries who often lack basic landline infrastructure, and BDT, as a globally-recognized intermediary in telecommunication development assistance, is the ideal partner for us to deliver these technologies," said Raja Gopalan, Inmarsat's Director for Land Mobile and Special Services.

Inmarsat GAN terminals are powered by a lithium-ion battery and includes a built-in base station that allows up to 12 cordless phones to be connected to form a cordless local phone network. In addition to the external line, up to 5 handsets can be used simultaneously for free-of-charge internal calling.

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Updated : 2004-01-06