UN telecom agency plans wireless hotspot in Haiti

11 February 2010

The United Nations telecommunications agency is working with a Singaporean wireless broadband equipment provider to set up fast wireless phone and Internet connections to assist aid workers and local authorities in Haiti where the terrestrial network is largely non-operational due to earthquake damage.

As part of the Cooperation Agreement with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Singapore-based smartBridges Solutions would supply 10 carrier-grade WiMAX base stations and equipment to 100 holding centres for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“I am very grateful to smartBridges Solutions for joining ITU in extending a helping hand to Haiti following this devastating disaster,” said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.

“I look forward to working with smartBridges Solutions, not only to help save human lives during emergencies, but to fully leverage the power of information and telecommunication technologies (ICTs) to drive the ongoing development of Haiti and other developing nations. I call upon like-minded potential partners to join us in this worthy cause.”

Speaking from Haiti, where ITU has been overseeing network restoration efforts, Cosmas Zavazava, ITU Chief, Emergency Telecommunications, praised smartBridges Solutions’ commitment in contributing state-of-the-art wireless technology, which he said is very much needed to support ongoing aid work.

Since the quake struck nearly a month ago, ITU has contributed 100 satellite terminals to Haiti to help re-establish basic communications links in the country. As part of the effort, the company installed a deployable base station with complete cellular network to provide wireless communications essential to disaster relief and clean-up efforts. The ITU also allocated a budget of over $1 million to strengthen disaster response in Haiti.

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UN telecom agency makes plans for Haiti’s present and future

Three weeks after the earthquake in Haiti, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations’ oldest agency, is still trying to re-establish reliable telephone and internet connections in the country, but also has long-term plans to help build state-of-the-art telecommunication networks there.