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HEB recently deployed satellite services to provide an emergency communication network in support of disaster-relief efforts during severe weather conditions.
The Connexstar services, provided by McLean, Va.-based Spacenet, Inc., were developed to enable rapid deployment of completely converged communications to support voice, video, and broadband data via satellite for emergency response teams.
"Spacenet's satellite services and transportable equipment were a critical component to the operation of our Disaster Response Unit (DRU)," said HEB emergency preparedness coordinator Justen Noakes. "The system worked extremely well and enabled data communications to be up and running within minutes after the DRU was parked."
After hurricanes Dolly and Ike knocked out the infrastructure in many areas, leaving people without power or access to basic supplies, San Antonio-based HEB deployed its DRU to affected communities. The support unit was made up of a convoy of almost 40 vehicles and 12 trailers equipped with Spacenet's Connexstar satellite services and transportable auto-pointing antenna. This system enabled the DRU to support critical communications, including high-speed broadband data, during the hurricane relief efforts. Emergency services included a mobile HEB Pharmacy unit and a mobile Business Services unit that enabled displaced residents to receive medications, cash checks and pay bills.