Helping Communities Recover from Disaster with Always-Ready, Satellite-Based Cellular Backhaul

In 2017, hurricanes destroyed over 90% of the cellular towers in Puerto Rico, Dominica, and other Caribbean islands. The hurricanes were unusual in their intensity, but the strength of such storms is increasing, meaning that their potential for damaging critical infrastructure will only continue to grow.

And it’s not just hurricanes. Other headline-grabbing weather events—flooding in Germany, wildfires in Australia— have increased in frequency and intensity across the globe. These events put pressure on and can even cripple vital communications infrastructure.

This is why mobile network operators (MNOs) and the communities they serve are increasingly turning to space-based solutions for support and recovery. Satellite-based cellular backhaul can quickly enable services when other infrastructure has been rendered inoperable, connecting communities when it’s needed most.

“The fastest way to bring connectivity to people is to use satellite backhaul connectivity,” explains Raghu Ramaiah, senior principal product manager at Intelsat. “Because satellites are high above the ground, they aren’t impacted by disasters like other infrastructure can be.”

Satellite-based cellular backhaul services can act as a kind of insurance, providing MNOs with cost-effective standby coverage that can be activated if disaster strikes.