News Column

Hughes Satellite Supports Habitat for Humanity in the Wake of 'Sandy'

Jan 29, 2013

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions and services, continues to provide satellite broadband Internet and voice services to Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, NY in its Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts. These essential communications are supporting the rebuilding of over 110 homes damaged by the hurricane in Breezy Point, NY and are the result of a combined effort by Hughes, Cisco Systems and the Global VSAT Forum.

After Superstorm Sandy decimated Breezy Point, Habitat for Humanity volunteered to help the residents rebuild their homes, setting up a command center nearby to coordinate the effort. Flooding and power outages had knocked out base stations, towers and switching centers of terrestrial network providers, while the Hughes satellite network withstood the disaster well with limited or no reported disruption to service.

"The combined assistance from Cisco Systems, the Global VSAT Forum and Hughes was invaluable, and to this day Hughes and Cisco are supporting our disaster operations in this devastated area," said Jim Killoran, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Westchester. "This support has been critical to our success in helping to alleviate suffering and get families closer to being in their homes."

Hughes broadband service is provided through its new Internet Access Solutions, powered by the EchoStar XVII satellite with JUPITER high-throughput technology--a next generation Ka-band satellite system with fast Internet speeds, up to 15 Mbps. "Satellite connectivity has again proven its resilience in the face of a disaster," said Tony Bardo, Assistant Vice President of Government Solutions at Hughes, "And we're honored to be playing this important part in supporting Habitat for Humanity's noble efforts to help families rebuild their lives."

Cisco established a TacOps team on site supporting customers in need by providing a switch to connect their computers, Wi-Fi for wireless access and a call manager for phones. "Cisco's TacOps teams are deployed to support communications in the acute phase of emergencies, such as in the wake of Superstorm Sandy," said Tim Woods, Technical Support Manager - TacOps at Cisco. "It has been a pleasure to work side by side with the Habitat for Humanity team, providing vital communications to both staff and volunteers."

The Global VSAT Forum's (GVF) Disaster Preparedness Registry, established following the devastating earthquakes in Haiti in 2010, helped to identify appropriate support resources. David Hartshorn, Secretary General of the GVF commented, "Habitat has not only proven itself to be a valuable organization to rebuild homes and lives, but also is clearly a trailblazer in leveraging satellite technology for disaster communications."

Source: Copyright PRNewswire 2013

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