Viasat Business Internet kept communications alive after hurricane

Houston business stays steady amid chaos with satellite service

When Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, boats took to the streets while downed or submerged communications lines were replaced by satellite.

The people behind Viasat business services like to highlight the fact that service from satellite often stays online when terrestrial internet providers are disconnected by an outage or emergency.

That’s what happened in southern Texas when Hurricane Harvey struck in August 2017. The storm knocked out cable, internet and phone service to more than 284,000 subscribers. Harvey disrupted service to 364 cellular sites, impacting 16 centers that process 911 calls in Texas and Louisiana.

Thanks to Viasat Business internet service, one company in particular stayed connected during the post-storm chaos, which enabled it to provide vital utilities to hospitals and other critical care clients.

APS Building Services, a company that provides heating, ventilation, air conditioning, mechanical and plumbing services, relied on Viasat Business internet during the hurricane – when traditional internet service providers couldn’t help. Anticipating such a scenario, APS ordered Viasat Business ahead of the storm.

Construction on a new APS Houston building was almost complete when the hurricane struck. Terrestrial internet and phone service hadn’t yet been installed because their provider was behind schedule; the hurricane and flooding pushed that installation out even further.

When transmission lines are downed during hurricanes and other weather events, often the only way to get online or make a phone call is by using satellite internet.

Because the company provides 24-hour service to hospitals and similar facilities, communications with its technicians and customers are essential. Not answering calls could trigger critical situations for the larger public. Company leaders also knew their customers would reach out to their competitors if they couldn’t reach APS, a scenario that could take a significant financial toll on the business.

Texas telecommunications service provider CS Vizion helped coordinate with Viasat to quickly get APS back online.

“I called Viasat and a member of the team was able to make something happen immediately,” said CS Vizion President Steve Reemts. “Their Viasat Business internet paired with VoIP helped the company get up and running at a critical time for the city and for the business.”

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a technology that uses the internet to make voice calls.

APS remained in contact with customers while technicians in the field stayed connected to home base during the chaos following the hurricane.

Quick turn

Satellite service can be installed in about three hours with minimal equipment, though typical installations are scheduled a few days after service is requested. That fast install time makes it an ideal secondary or backup solution for emergency situations like severe storms. So long as there’s power, even if it’s from a generator, satellite can often connect a disaster area long before terrestrial providers are back online.

Businesses typically use the service as a long-term solution to ensure constant access to the internet. APS continues to use it as a back-up – a service that’s ready to go if the primary service fails.

Viasat recently launched a new, unlimited data business service, providing broadband download speeds of up to 35 Mbps. In addition to unlimited data, the plans include persistent IP addresses, priority connection and a support center specifically for business clients.

Learn more about Viasat Business.

 

Jane Reuter
About Jane Reuter 51 Articles
Jane Reuter writes from the heart. Having spent years as a newspaper journalist, she knows a well-written story is never forgotten. It’s personal. It connects. It makes an impact. As a Viasat content specialist, Jane seeks to take her readers on a journey, making her stories interactive, personal and engaging.