United Nations, ITU Expedite Emergency Satellite Bandwidth Acquisition Process
[Satellite TODAY Insider 03-31-11] The United Nations‘ telecommunications agency signed agreements with Intelsat and the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) March 29 to expedite the restoration of vital telecommunications services in the aftermath of natural disasters.
The agreements aim to expedite the process in which emergency bandwidth is obtained for U.N. disaster relief efforts. Upon receiving a request from a member state for assistance in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will inform Intelsat of the request for satellite capacity and other related needs. Intelsat will then consult with ITSO and consider donating satellite capacity, the agency said.
The main objectives outlined in the cooperative agreements are centered on increasing early response capabilities and re-establishing vital communication links for rescue and relief operations. The agreement between ITU, Intelsat and ITSO follows the Hyderabad Plan of Action adopted by the U.N. World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2010. The plan called for private sector participation to help close the gap in universal access to information and communication technologies and to support emergency communications.
"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," Hamadoun Touré, the Secretary-General of the ITU, said in a press conference. "Satellite technology, with its wide coverage and rapid deployment, is ideally suited for response to communications needs in emergency situations."
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