In today’s society, most people associate the word ‘remote’ with a device that switches channels on their television but for people working in the world of satellite communications, ‘remote’ usually refers to a location situated far from any main centres of population.
This is the case for Galaxy Broadband Communications Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario, a company that has been providing satellite services for more than 20 years to customers in remote parts of Canada where there is no fibre or cell coverage And, as almost everybody in the civilized world knows, working in areas with no satellite service is difficult because of today’s need and demand for an instant and uninterrupted connection with the outside world.
Whether you’re using Facebook, Facetime, or Google to download electronic versions of the hometown newspaper, keeping in touch by voice and data on a constant basis is what Galaxy provides in regions where the only sign of civilization is the clothes they’re wearing.
In other words, the company’s high-speed internet services can provide support with the bare necessities: an auto-deploy system or – something used on a recent project for Abitibi Geophysics in northern Quebec – Galaxy SCOUT, a portable system that fits in the back of a pickup or transported by helicopter.
Abitibi’s worksite is about 175 km northwest of Val d’Or, QC.
Because of the remoteness of the site, about 175km northwest of Val d’Or, near the town of La Sarre, Galaxy used its SCOUT system to enable Abitibi’s field crews to move easily around the site, which allowed them gather polarity and magnetic data to help define target areas for a potential drill program.
As mentioned earlier, the site was extremely remote and only accessible by a 150km-long forestry road.
For safety purposes, Abitibi needed a system that would enable them to use Voice Over IP to keep in touch with site crews. It also allowed them to have an internet connection to the head office in Val d’Or to download data files in the evening when the crews were back in camp.
Doug Harvey, Galaxy’s Vice-president of Business Development and Marketing said, “The portability of the SCOUT was very important on the Abitibi site because of the geographical challenges in this part of Quebec. The quick-deploy satellite antenna on the system made it easy for the site crews to almost immediately connect to the Internet and transmit data at the end of each and every day.” Most importantly, said Harvey, was the reassurance and peace of mind the system gave management at Abitibi Geophysics concerning its field crews were safely back in camp and ready to work another day.
Keeping in touch with field crews can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience because of the rugged terrain they work in. Additionally, getting technical data sent from the field to urban control centres can be even more daunting, but thanks to advances in remote and transportable communication systems like the SCOUT technology provided by Galaxy Broadband, mining and other exploration crews are now able to venture farther into the wilderness to look for new mineral resources while simultaneously keeping in touch with the outside world.
“The portable unit was quickly deployed by our crew and the technical support was very helpful and available. We used it for about two months and the link was very stable and dependable, we never experienced any slowdown or disconnection during that period. The voice over IP was very clear even when the internet was under heavy usage by the rest of the crew, we always had a clear channel to communicate (with a Canadian phone number) with our crew even in a remote area, which is very important for the safety of everyone. We were very pleased with the overall experience and we will use a SCOUT unit the next time we need an internet and phone connection remotely!” Maxim Belleau – Technical Electronics Supervisor, Abitibi Geophysics Inc.