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Emergency services benefit from world-first integrated mobile satellite and cellular service
Tuesday, 3/31/2015, 01:31 PM



A world-first integrated mobile satellite and cellular service, formed through a partnership between Globalstar Europe and Manx Telecom, has been unveiled and will go in testing initially with emergency services to keep them connected no matter where they are or the current network conditions. 

The new system is known as EMN (Extended Mobile Network) and will maintain connectivity through switching between cellular and satellite. On the cellular side, EMN makes use of 'Smart SIM' technology by Manx Telecom to seek alternative connections from other cellular providers if cut-off from the primary operator. Failing the ability to maintain a connection with a cellular network, EMN will switch over to Globalstar's vast satellite network. 

(Image: EMN System Architecture) 

“First responders face an ever growing array of operational challenges,” commented Jay Monroe, Chairman & CEO of Globalstar. “The EMN solution, incorporating our reliable satellite network, will help ensure that first responders can continuously communicate and help them perform their significant roles more effectively.” 

Whereas it can be difficult to ensure blanket coverage when it comes to cellular – particularly in rural and hilly areas – satellite is a lot easier to obtain a connection. Globalstar says at least one satellite will be available no matter where on the planet a connection attempt is being made, and furthermore latency should not be an issue as their satellites orbit at 1,400km (900 miles) above the Earth. 

Gary Lamb, CEO of Manx Telecom, commented, “Together with our partners, we intend to show that satellite communications, combined with Manx Telecom’s flexible Strongest Signal SIM technology, can provide much-needed balance and backup to the emergency communications architecture and dramatically increase overall reliability. Our firm view is that FRAN can uniquely provide emergency services personnel with communications networks they can rely on, wherever they are, 24/7.” 

Trials with the emergency services are planned for summer 2016. FRAN (First Responder Auxiliary Network) will be first to use EMN. FRAN's implementation of EMN will allow it to continue making and receiving vital communications; particularly in a large-scale emergency when cellular networks are being overloaded. 

Should all emergency services use an EMN-based solution for communications? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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