Inmarsat has been presented with the first International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Humanitarian Award for Lifesaving.
The company was praised during the award ceremony – held at ITU Telecom World 2012 in Dubai – for its commitment and consistent leadership in supporting the use of telecommunications to save lives during emergencies.
Inmarsat Chairman Andy Sukawaty accepted the industry award – the first time it has been presented to industry partners – from ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré.
“I was honoured to accept this eminent award from our peers within the industry,” he said.
“As a long-standing ITU partner, we have a long history of supporting the relief effort across the world, helping first responders communicate as quickly as possible to distribute aid in an effective and co-ordinated manner.
He added: “In a crisis situation, time is of the essence and an early, co-ordinated response is the key to minimising the impact of any disaster.
“Mobile satcoms are therefore among a range of essential services for relief agencies in the initial days after a natural disaster, ensuring emergency services are deployed both quickly and reliably.
“By relying on Inmarsat's satellite network, first responders can access the information they need to act effectively, even if all terrestrial communications are down.”
As well as providing satcoms for first responders around the globe, Inmarsat supports and sponsors the humanitarian work of the charity Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), which sends emergency teams equipped with Inmarsat equipment to restore communications in the wake of man-made or natural disasters.
It supplies TSF with free satellite communications equipment and financial support to enable the organisation to provide telephone, fax, email, internet, data and image transmission in any location and situation.
In an emergency situation, TSF's priority is to set up telecom centres to help co-ordinate first responders' relief efforts and also to enable survivors to telephone loved-ones to say they're alive.
TSF has been appointed by the United Nations (UN) to act as its principal communications provider in disaster situations. It, and it also supports the European Commission and non-governmental relief agencies.