Vihaan Networks Limited (VNL) signs MoU with BSNL to introduce the “Relief 123” Service for disaster relief. The communication solutions being provided by VNL will lead to paradigm shift in relief and rescue operations particularly in remote and difficult terrains. Apart from India, this relief and rescue solutions will also be provided in neighbouring nations. VNL plans to take this unique disaster management solutions across the globe…

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 28, 2017: Indian telecom equipment and solution provider —VNL — has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with government-owned BSNL to provide solutions for disaster management. Christened ‘Relief 123‘, the service will restore connectivity at disaster sites, help locate the affected and integrate information across platforms to enable informed decision-making for quick relief.

“The Relief 123 solution is based on ResQMobil, an integrated portable communication, search and rescue system developed by VNL. It is a game-changing solution that will help our disaster management agencies like NDMA and NDRF and also Indian Army at the times of natural disasters. The equipment not only helps in immediate restoration of communication of disaster-hit areas from the outside world but also locates missing people and people buried under debris,” said VNL Chairman Rajiv Mehrotra.

The “Relief 123” service is an integrated Disaster Response solution for first responders and public safety agencies. The solution is designed and manufactured by VNL and the backhaul connectivity will be provided by BSNL. The service has been designed to work in different scenarios including natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, floods and tsunamis.

The move to deploy comprehensive communication solutions will also bring BSNL and disaster management agencies – National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) on one platform for better coordination that will go a long way in saving lives during natural calamities. This model can be scaled for SAARC countries, wherein BSNL would have roaming agreements with local Mobile Service Operators, and have type approvals executed in advance with local regulator. This will enable affected community to use their local numbers, and prevent any problems at the customs.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani visited BSNL stall at India Mobile Congress at Pragati Maidan on Tuesday where he took keen interest in telecom solutions being provided by Indian telecom equipment-maker VNL to BSNL that will be used for disaster management. Here VNL Chairman Rajiv Mehrotra explaining his company’s telecom solutions to Mr Ambani which will be used by NDRF and NDMA

Speaking on the occasion, BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said: “Our latest initiative is dedicated to the service of the nation. Given that our country is prone to natural disasters, the availability and quick deployment of comprehensive communications solutions will help disaster management agencies mount faster and more reliable search and rescue operations. We are happy to partner with a domestic player like VNL in this noble endeavour, which has developed these innovative solutions in the area of disaster management, indigenously. By harnessing our telecom backbone that connects even the remote corners of the country, we aim to improve government’s response during emergencies by ensuring uninterrupted services to save human lives from natural calamities. In times to come we wish to extend this service to countries too, starting with the SAARC region.”

Mr. Mehrotra thanked BSNL for giving the company an opportunity to partner in a project of paramount importance and said, “We are very proud to partner with BSNL for the rollout of this Disaster Relief Service. Considering the recent spate of natural disasters that have hit the world, this service has never been more relevant. We are committed to assisting first responders and public safety agencies in restoring connectivity when natural catastrophes strike. We thank BSNL CMD Mr. Anupam Shrivastava for entrusting us with an important responsibility once again”.

This project is a successful continuation of ground breaking partnerships between VNL and BSNL. Both companies have partnered in the past for the roll out of voice and data connectivity in the worst-affected Left-Wing Extremism affected areas of India. To date, this remains the biggest green connectivity initiative undertaken anywhere in the world. Recently, VNL had also emerged as the lowest bidder for the North East Mobile Connectivity Project, bagging 70% share of the Rs 1648 crore telecom infrastructure project rolled out by BSNL for providing connectivity in over 4,000 villages in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

VNL Chairman Rajiv Mehrotra explaining the disaster management solutions being provided by his company to Telecom Secretary Aruna Sunderarajan

The Relief 123 solution is based on ResQMobil which packs in the following hardware into a portable transportable trailer-on-wheels

  • GSM Network-in- a box with integrated BTS, BSC, MSC HLR in hard-case portable cases.
  • One such box can support 28 HR concurrent calls, and coverage can be 3 to 5 km based on height of BTS.
  • Geo locator that helps locate people who maybe trapped under rubble, by locating mobile phones.
  • Universal gateway that patches communication over various platforms eg, HF, VHF to mobile or PSTN networks. The Universal gateway can cross-connect any call originating from any means be it PSTN, PLMN, VSAT, etc
  • BSNL plans to allow use of its spectrum and connect all different SIMs via its network. When VSAT backhaul is established, relief workers can use a normal 10 digit number to connect to the world.
  • Relief workers can also make a local call using 4-digit number to each other in a local-switching mode.

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