Feeds

LightSquared courts disaster with rapid response team

Has new customers too, but won't say who

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

American wannabe network operator LightSquared has created a rapid response team, poised to provide satellite communications, and put the company's technology in front of TV cameras, at a moment's notice.

The Emergency Rapid Response Communications Team (ERRT) is basically a box of satellite-capable phones which can be rushed to the scene of any disaster in the USA to provide connectivity to emergency workers, regardless of the damage to local infrastructure. But its primary purpose is to lend credibility to the network wholesaler, which still needs to raise a lot of cash and get a customer or two before it's going to be taken seriously.

Harbinger Capital, which owns LightSquared, has raised another $850m recently, and is claiming to have signed up a customer or two though it's not saying who those customers are, so we have to assume they're pretty small scale. It does look as though LightSquared is going to have working devices, with Nokia signed to make an "internet access device" and AnyDATA planning on putting Qualcomm's chips into dongles, but that's a minimum requirement for a network that can't use any existing hardware.

The radio spectrum LightSquared uses is satellite ground component - spectrum reserved for satellite use, the meaning of which is being stretched to its limits. Because of that, LightSquared devices will have to be able to connect to geostationary satellites as well as traditional base stations, which makes them ideal for disaster zones where existing infrastructure might be compromised or overloaded.

Not that LightSquared is anywhere near having an operational network yet but, as Dailywireless explains, Harbinger acquired the spectrum for LightSquared by buying up SkyTerra and TerreStar, the latter of which has a bird in the air and existing satellite phones which roam onto AT&T when there's no national disaster. So we're assuming that the ERRT team will (for the moment) be equipped with TerreStar phones, no doubt sporting prominent LightSquared logos.

Not that we should knock LightSquared for emphasising the ubiquity of coverage that satellite communications can provide - the company is already providing free phones to the Indian* Health Service to ensure connectivity in often-ill-served tribal lands. It makes sense to have a team ready to get handsets into the hands of first responders at the scene, and if there happens to be a camera or two in the area that wouldn't do any harm. ®

* Indian* Health Service provides service to Native Americans, rather than people in India who are well beyond the existing bird's footprint or even LightSquared's business plan.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?