Satnews Daily
September 29th, 2010

LightSquared... Community Communication Concentration (SATCOM)

[SatNews] LightSquared(tm) and the Indian Health Service (IHS), the lead federal agency to serve health needs of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons, have announced the signing of an agreement through which LightSquared will donate satellite phones and associated service for use in AI/AN communities.

All satellite phones will come with service provided free of charge through 2020 to address the lack of reliable telecommunications connectivity which often plagues Tribal communities. To kickoff this nationwide effort, LightSquared and IHS staff are working together to develop communication and deployment plans which incorporate tribal governments’ input for the satellite phones. They anticipate establishing a pilot program for initial deployment of satellite equipment and service later this fall with the IHS Albuquerque Area Office that serves four hospitals, 11 health centers and 12 field clinics located in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. The use of mobile satellite phones will expand levels of connectivity to ensure that vital health services are fulfilled in underserved communities. LightSquared, which includes the satellite services assets of the former SkyTerra Communications, has a history of providing communications services for improved connectivity in Native American Tribal communities. Through its business partnerships LightSquared provides equipment and services to Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement vehicles and to school buses operating on Tribal lands in New Mexico and Arizona. With a similar focus on communities in need, the company has delivered essential services to the areas of Louisiana hardest hit by the destruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Most recently the company collaborated with Inmarsat to provide relief organizations in Haiti with access to mobile satellite services, including voice and broadband. This helped relief organizations coordinate emergency operations and allowed survivors to communicate with loved ones. LightSquared will provide up to 2,000 satellite phones and service to this project, depending on the requirements of IHS.