Internet connectivity

Access to the internet has become an essential service for all ETC users. The following section outlines the purpose for providing internet connectivity for each group, and a description of the typical service provided.

Table of contents

Connectivity for Humanitarian Organisations

Purpose: Internet connectivity is an essential tool for all humanitarian organisations. The ETC deploys an internet connectivity service, distributed via a Wi-Fi network for humanitarian organisations on a temporary basis when the national infrastructure is either damaged, does not provide enough capacity, or where it makes operational sense to have a shared service. As soon as practical, shared services are transitioned to national infrastructure with long term cost sharing arrangements between partners if appropriate, or individual organisations purchase an independent internet connection and the shared service is removed.

Description: Shared internet connectivity is distributed from a single location (e.g. a humanitarian hub), expanding to other specific sites where necessary. Typically, service is provided in a location where more than one organization has established a presence.

The type of access and use of the service depends on both resources available and requirements. Typically, in the early hours of a sudden onset emergency, portable low capacity devices are used, transitioning to higher capacity services and a larger Wi-Fi networks as an emergency unfolds.

Connectivity for National and Local Authorities

Purpose: During natural disasters and sudden onset emergencies the ETC supports government agencies, for example the National Disaster and Emergency Management Authority in a country (hereby referred to as NDMA). The ETC ensures that the NDMA continues to operate when national networks are damaged or can quickly establish itself in a new operational area.

Description: This support could be connected to the same common service that is provided to humanitarian organisations, our could be an internet service dedicated to the NDMA. In both cases these are on a temporary basis.

Connectivity for Affected Populations

Purpose: The ETC enables access to information among affected populations by providing the technology and infrastructure that is lacking in crises-affected countries to improve the accessibility, affordability and usability of information and communication tools in both sudden-onset and protracted crises. The ETC never competes with national networks when providing Internet connectivity to the affected population.

Description: Internet connectivity solutions for affected populations are designed and deployed depending on each specific context, considering the different needs of men, women, boys and girls, socio economic factors, affordability, digital literacy, and existing infrastructure.

Internet Connectivity Solutions

Portable Internet connectivity: Portable internet connectivity devices are used in the early stages of an emergency response and during the first assessment mission. They are usually based on satellite technology as it is immune to natural disasters and the service is worldwide.

National Internet Service Provider (ISP/MNOs) connectivity with Wi-Fi: The ETC does not compete with local services providers and so locally available public infrastructure is the first option for internet connectivity to be explored, considering the level of reliability needed. These service providers could use different access technologies including: 3G, 4G, WiMAX, microwave, VSAT, optic fibre, ADSL. This solution is usually coupled with Wi-Fi access and control equipment. The ETC may also support local mobile network operators (MNOs) to recover from disasters and/or extend the service to a new area of interest to humanitarians.

ETC partner solutions: The ETC deploys dedicated VSAT and Wi-Fi access solutions through its partners which include emergency.lu, Ericsson Response, Crisis Connectivity Charter, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) and NetHope among others.

Mobile data connectivity using 3G & LTE Technology: The ETC through its partners can deploy wide area internet connectivity using mobile technology in coordination with local authorities. This service can be delivered to humanitarians, local partners, and the affected population.

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