Insights

Blog | Ligado Networks | Dan Cruz | October 16, 2017

Ligado is Making Stronger Connections in Puerto Rico

In a time of crisis like the one Puerto Rico faces today, it’s important to do the right thing. For Ligado Networks, that means providing reliable satellite connectivity to first responders and relief efforts when they need it. As someone with family and friends on the island, assisting in relief efforts is personal to me. For the last several weeks, our company has been doing everything we can to help. It’s been a team effort, and I’m proud of what we’ve done.

Satellite networks are often the only way to communicate in the aftermath of destructive natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria. Like power, water and other must-have services in Puerto Rico, ground-based communications networks have been substantially impaired. A majority of the people on the island have no way of reaching out to family or calling for help. This disruption has highlighted just how crucial communications operations are for emergency relief efforts as well as for the general public after a disaster.

As a satellite communications provider, Ligado is making a difference. Ligado’s network is being used by government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and the FBI in Puerto Rico. Public safety officials and first responders throughout the country use Ligado’s interoperable satellite network regularly, and we have been keeping them connected for interagency operations related to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, too. Our services are even more critical at this time in Puerto Rico, and we are busy fulfilling partner and customer requests for satellite radios and network capacity so they can help government and NGO relief efforts in the ways they know best.

Ligado is also donating satellite phones and service to relief efforts in Puerto Rico to help public safety officials and volunteers stay in touch with areas where the communications infrastructure has been obliterated. Working with the United Way of Broward County’s MISSION UNITED, a non-profit veterans’ services organization, we’re helping connect local government, church groups and community centers that are serving as hubs for food, water and supplies.

After a disaster strikes, our first instinct is to connect; we want to make a phone call or send a text to loved ones or emergency services. The ability to connect is extremely meaningful to those in need and family members who, like me, are eager to check in and offer assistance. My extended family and friends throughout Puerto Rico are safe today, fortunately, but they are still without reliable communications. Some have been traveling to metropolitan areas to get minimal service on their mobile phones, but getting to areas where there may be communications services remains difficult because roads are damaged and covered by debris.

In these types of situations, satellite connectivity has helped make important connections possible. An NBC News segment captured this first-hand, as first responders from Virginia sought to check on a family that hadn’t been heard from since before the storm. They used a Ligado MSAT G2 phone to help a woman reach her loved ones who had been worried about her safety. It was incredibly rewarding to see the difference something as simple as a reliable phone connection can make during a crisis.

Like so many others that have stepped up to help, Ligado is doing everything we can to facilitate many more of these connections. We are honored to be able to contribute along with countless others to aid Puerto Rico. Together, helping in the ways we can, we can further Puerto Rico’s efforts to rebuild and recover.

Dan Cruz is a Public Affairs Manager at Ligado Networks

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