In January 2009, the state of Kentucky was hit by a devastating storm that crippled the state’s communications infrastructure for weeks. Trees and freezing rain damaged power lines and resulted in the state’s largest power outage on record. According to Drew Chandler the IT Communicatiions Manager with The Kentucky Department for Public Health, the loss of ability to communicate compromised the state’s critical systems and impaired the ability of public health and medical response teams to respond with emergency services
The department knew redundancy was going to be key to making sure history doesn’t repeat itself and set an overall communication goal to create multiple layers of redundancy. Recognizing satellite Internet service was the best vehicle to accomplish that goal, the department set out to find an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
As a public entity, the state is required to review proposals from multiple providers. However, we’re pleased to say they ultimately chose Skycasters as the ISP with the best solutions to ensure the state could maintain its communications networks. When asked why they specifically chose us among all of the ISPs being considered, Chandler says it was clear from the onset that Skycasters was eager to get to know the department’s specific needs. One of those needs was to support teams as they are deployed to disaster situations.
The department needed to keep public health and medical responders connected to critical systems, no matter where a crisis would take them. To give them the flexibility they needed, even in the most remote locations, the department went with a mobile VSAT solution from Skycasters. The VSAT connection provides sufficient bandwidth so that an entire team can have access to email, WebEOC, the Health Alert Network, providing access to a variety of media resources, as well as the ability to use the Internet as a phone line with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology.
Chandler also said he was impressed by how much information we provided him, both on the phone and our website, to answer his questions. But what stood out the most is that when a site visit was proposed, it wasn’t just an option to visit, we actually encouraged him to come out and see the teleport and network operations center (NOC) in person. We’re glad that stood out to him because we’re especially proud of our state-of-the-art facility in Akron. We love to show it off any chance we can and welcome anyone to call us for a tour to see all of the careful planning and engineering that goes in to providing the very best in satellite Internet service.
The department was especially pleased with the service Skycasters offers. When there was a tornado outbreak in March 2012 and they quickly realized that their satellite connection could also be used to restore communications. A sister agency of the department lost use of their facility and had to relocate their operations to a temporary location. With all of the infrastructure damage, they were cut off from communications. However, the agency was able to tap into the Skycasters connection and used it for nearly three weeks to provide essential community services to residents.
We realize the critical role our service plays in providing essential services to people in need. And, in some cases, even saving lives. We appreciate the trust the Kentucky Department for Public Health placed in us by selecting Skycasters as their satellite Internet provider.
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