Emergency Planning FAQ News

Alternate Communication During Times of Disaster


Alternate Forms of CommunicationsTropical storms in the US, earthquakes in South America and Asia or volcanoes anywhere else on the globe, businesses and individuals face another year of potential emergencies that will need to be responded to.

One thing that all of these natural disasters have in common, besides the tremendous loss of life and disruption to everyday lives of the populous, is that they are immediately followed by an almost total loss of the ability to communicate with the outside world. Power is lost, telephone services are discontinued, and cell phone service is either non-existent or is so congested that it takes hours to get a call through.

Companies and emergency planners face the problem of providing continued communication before, during, and after a disaster strikes their areas. Small, medium and large company business continuity planners are looking for alternatives to standard communications so that they can keep their business and critical operations running:


Satellite provides alternatives for small, medium and large enterprises and there are various speed and pricing options, which make it a very attractive alternative or mitigation strategy.

Satellite phones

If a company is only interested in providing a short term telephone back-up alternative then satellite phone service like Inmarsat or Iridium offer voice, data, and e-mail services. They can offer inter-connectivity with mobile phone services and devices using Satellite Wi-Fi Internet terminals. These communications options are excellent keeping senior executives and critical operations personnel in contact during disasters. You can rent satellite devices or you can buy them.


VSAT is an acronym for Very Small Aperture Terminal, an earthbound station used in satellite communications of data, voice and video signals. A VSAT consists of two parts, a transceiver dish that is placed outdoors in direct line of sight to the satellite and a device that is placed indoors to interface with the end user’s communications device, such as a laptop, PC, smart device or other Internet Router.


BGAN is an acronym for a Broadband Global Area Network, a portable terminal that connects to satellite networks via a laptop, PC, smart device or other Internet routers. BGAN’s allow for greater portability at a variety of speeds accessing all the applications one would normally use from home or office. BGAN’s offer seamless and continuous coverage when terrestrial systems are down.

(Partial reprint from Dr. Jim Kennedy – Alternate Communications During Times of Disaster)