When internet or mobile phone networks go down, whether at home, at work or on the go, the reaction is one of irritation, followed by incredulity that in this day and age we're suddenly and so unexpectedly cut off from the digital world.
A few minutes later, usually after we've turned something off and on again, all is well with the world. However when incidents such as earthquakes or civil wars disrupt networks, getting communications up and running is a different story and all the more vital to pursue.
In such cases, friends and families are cut off, trade agreements are jeopardised and land aid agencies can't communicate when they arrive at the disaster zone to deliver assistance. Governments, meanwhile, are often rendered ineffective in improving the situation.
The effect disasters can have on communications during times of need led to the formation of Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) in 1998, an organisation that works to get communications up and running within 24 hours of a disruption to network and telecoms services.
V3 caught up with the organisation's co-founder and director, Monique Lanne-Petit, at a recent AT&T event held to highlight the importance of business continuity planning, to hear more about the work of TSF.
"In emergency zones, aid agencies and local people need to communicate. It's vital for people to be able to get in contact with loved ones and let them know they're alive and where they are," she said.
"We try to get to a location as quickly as possible, aiming to set off within three hours and arriving within 24, to get communications up and running in the form of internet, satellite phones and 3G services."
TSF has offices in Managua in Nicaragua, Pau in France, Washington and Bangkok, allowing staff to get to the frontline of unfolding disasters as quickly as possible, wherever these may be.
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