Globecomm, a leading global connectivity and managed services provider headquartered in Hauppauge, NY, has confirmed its support for the operationalisation of the UN Crisis Connectivity Charter (CCC) through delivery of Global VSAT Forum (GVF) training – with assistance from GVF’s training portfolio development and delivery partner, SatProf, and the GVF online training platform.
Globecomm’s support is the latest in a series of advances made by the satellite industry to enable effective implementation of the CCC. On 17th May 2018 it was announced that members of the satellite community – Arabsat, Eutelsat, Global Eagle, Hispasat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES, Thuraya and Yahsat – had entered into contribution agreements with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), on behalf of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), as CCC signatories, stepping-up their respective commitments to support global disaster relief.
The signatories’ contribution agreements – providing access to vital satellite-based communications when local networks are affected, destroyed or overloaded following disasters – are the final steps in operationalising the Crisis Connectivity Charter, a document originally signed in 2015 between the EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA), Global VSAT Forum (GVF), the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA), and the ETC. The Charter formalises terms and protocols in an effort to accelerate the ability of emergency response teams to access satellite-based communications when local networks are affected, destroyed or overloaded after a disaster.
Simon Gray, Senior Vice President for Humanitarian Affairs with Eutelsat, Member of the GVF Board of Directors, and the satellite industry’s ETC Coordinator at the time of the May announcement, commented, “I would say that the Globecomm training contribution is making the operationalisation of the charter easier and quicker, and definitely enhances the WFP skill set.”
As a connectivity solutions provider offering Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Globecomm is well versed in leveraging its multi-network satellite/fibre/cellular communications services as a viable means of providing back-up communications during times of disaster recovery and critical incident response, having supported both government organisations and commercial enterprises in times of emergency to restore critical communications. Globecomm’s ReliefSAT is a turnkey DRaaS and equipment solution for restoral of IP connectivity for voice, video, and data communications in emergencies for aid agencies/NGO’s.
Globecomm’s training delivery support will include sponsorship of full-tuition scholarships for selected students in the Global VSAT Forum’s industry-recognised online training programme. Students will receive one year of GVF training subscription, which includes courses covering VSAT deployment, satcom theory and applications, mobile terminal operation, several certifications, and many other topics.
The standard tuition fee for a one-year subscription is US$345; Globecomm’s scholarship, together with the 50% reduction provided by GVF and SatProf under the Andrew Werth scholarship programme, combine to make the training available to qualified students at no cost. Students from the developing countries and NGOs specified in GVF's Andrew Werth Scholarship Programme are invited to apply using this application form www.gvf.org/globecomm-training.
“Disaster recovery is at the core of what we do at Globecomm, and we are very pleased to be supporting this education programme to help aid organisations and communities better prepare for times of crisis,” said Senior Vice President Paul Scardino at Globecomm. “Having been involved with the writing of the original Charter, it’s especially gratifying to be making this contribution towards accelerating the ability of emergency response teams who need it the most.”
The Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Recovery Working Group (HADR-WG) of the Global VSAT Forum (GVF, www.gvf.org) has, since its inception, been deeply engaged with disaster relief operations and the promotion of the use of satellite as a vital communications tool in the aftermath of natural disasters.
The criticality of the satellite sector to maintaining reliable communications in the wake of crises, and as an integral part of first responder requirements for immediate communications links to support supply logistics, urgent medical care and coordination of relief efforts, has for many years been exemplified in the role of GVF in both the provision of training for first responder agencies and in the collaborative coordination of crisis connectivity measures between its satellite solution-providing membership and the United Nations, as well as other agencies including the ICRC, IFRC, and NetHope.
In the context of an increasing number of protracted, complex emergencies and consequential high demand for satellite bandwidth and technologies, commitment from the global satellite industry is a critical enabler of Internet access, VOIP, and WiFi. The ETC, under the global leadership of WFP, will be able to activate the Charter when disaster strikes and identify which pre-planned solutions are immediately available for any given region and need in order to meet a 24-hour deployment timeline after a crisis.
As well as increased levels of coordination to prioritise access to bandwidth for humanitarian purposes during disaster operations, the Charter enables the pre-positioning satellite equipment and transmission capacity in 20 high-risk countries (as identified by the ETC and other organisations) around the world, with donated satellite equipment being stored in humanitarian depots located on three continents and pre-allocated bandwidth covering all regions of the globe. It also provides for training and capacity building services – on the installation and use of the satellite equipment – for the humanitarian community, particularly for WFP and ETC partners’ field-staff.