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Could satellite phones help democracy in Cuba

Jul 23, 2021

While many have heard of the Cuba protests we have not seen them recently, that is after the Cuban government shut down all means of public communications. Cell phone connectivity down, home internet down, any form of communications to the world outside of Cuba has been shut off and the people are dying to tell the story and make the record for the sake of history and freedom.

Satellite phones and Internet terminals like Inmarsat BGANs have been used in conflicts and natural disasters for over a decade because of some key highlights to their technology.

1. They operate in the L band frequency which is also the same frequency as GPS. This means that when local regimes or bad actors want to jam the frequency of satellite phones and BGAN terminals they are also jamming their own navigation in most cases. So #1, not very jammable.

2. Satellite phones and BGANs are battery-powered and can be recharged easily from solar panels. This means they can be used pretty much anywhere without reliable or consistent power sources.

3. Small form factor - because satellite phones and BGAN satellite wifi internet terminals are about the size of normal smartphones or tablets (just a bit thicker) they are covert and can be concealed and operated with ease. This low profile design is especially helpful when bringing the satellite phones and hotspots to conflict areas where putting up a big antenna or large satellite dish would compromise safety and security.

Even with all these key features getting satellite phones and satellite internet into a place like Cuba and in the right peoples hands is a big challenge. Anyone taking satellite equipment there is usually interrogated and has their equipment confiscated.

Additionally, the lawmakers wrote that the “world’s democracies must work collaboratively to coordinate democratic assistance for the brave Cuban freedom advocates,” and “do everything in our power to make sure the people of Cuba can communicate with each other and the outside world through unfettered internet access, cellular service, cellular and satellite phones, and other technology that may assist the democratic opposition.”

Ref: https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/564085-republi...

If the lawmakers could open up the restrictions on Cuba and overwhelm their shores with non violent support in the forms of satellite phones, satellite radios and satellite hotpsots communications along with food, water and medicine the people would have a better fighting chance.

Here are our tips for using a satellite phone in conflict areas:

-Avoid using a satellite phone (or any radio frequency-based device) from the same position more than once.

-Avoid using a satellite phone or similar device from a location that cannot be easily evacuated.

-Keep the maximum length of any transmission to 10 minutes at most, then cease transmitting and change location.

-Avoid having multiple parties transmit from the same location.