Police to Use Satellites for Communications

Israeli military spy satellite Ofek 10. (Ministry of Defense and aerospace industries/Flash90)

Cellphone service in Israel can be spotty, especially in deserts or valleys where placing communications towers may be difficult – so in order to communicate, police in recent months have been experimenting with a new communications system based on satellites.

With the price of satellite communications plummeting in recent years, police have decided that the system could be a viable alternative to cellphones or walkie-talkies, which have significant limitations. A report in Yisrael Hayom said that the decision to seek new communications systems came in the wake of several recent major events in which a lack of communication led to logistical and other problems. Among them was the tragedy in Nachal Tsafit earlier this year, in which 10 students of the Bnei Zion pre-military academy died in a flash flood. Police who attempted to assist were stymied by the lack of cell coverage in the area.

Police have been investigating the possibility of satellite coverage for some years now, the report said, and have been speaking with numerous suppliers. While satellite coverage has gone down in price in recent years, it is still more expensive than cell coverage. Despite that, police believe that improving the communications system and ensuring that it is always available is worth the cost.

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