Following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April, Inmarsat sent out two solutions engineers from the UK equipped with Global Xpress and BGAN HDR terminals, to provide technical support and training for news broadcasters on the ground in Kathmandu and to assist relief organisations, as the need arose.

Satellite communications are critical for the coordination of aid efforts in times of a disaster when terrestrial networks are often destroyed or very heavily congested. They also enable the world’s media to report on a crisis to help raise awareness and vital funds for those affected.

Jonathan Smith and Del Ashley, who work within Inmarsat’s Enterprise business and are both former soldiers, have experience of working in dangerous or hostile environments. So when they were asked to travel to Kathmandu with just two hours’ notice, they were able to gather everything they would require to be as self-sufficient as possible and, so, be able to support Inmarsat users the moment they arrived.

Technical training
“The sense of relief and confidence our customers felt when they saw that Inmarsat had sent us out to help was immediately evident. We were made very welcome and media requests soon came flooding in,” said Jonathan.

The team offered media technical training on the new Inmarsat Global Xpress service, helped broadcasters who had Inmarsat kit, updated firmware to the latest versions on a variety of other Inmarsat devices, and offered advice and hands-on support across Inmarsat’s portfolio of products and services.

They also loaned out the two terminals they bought with them – a Cobham SATCOM EXPLORER 5075GX Global Xpress terminal and a Cobham SATCOM EXPLORER 710 BGAN HDR terminal.

Data speeds
Many broadcasters were able to trial the Global Xpress service for the first time and immediate impressions were extremely positive – not only on the portability and small size of the terminal compared to a standard VSAT but also on the throughput value of 4mbps outbound and inbound data speeds available.

The engineers spent a total of 10 days in Kathmandu working until the early hours of the morning every day assisting with the growing media presence and providing back-up to NGOs should they have any issues.

The visit demonstrated a real need and demand for a dedicated technical team on the ground in times of a disaster and Inmarsat is now putting plans in place to send out engineers on a regular basis.