It looks like LightSquared's crush on rural America is still ongoing, folks. The firm announced today it'll donate 2,000 satellite phones to the Indian Health Service and other tribal organizations, allowing them to make calls in areas that terrestrial networks don't cover. Sadly, no details on exactly what gear it's deploying, but according to Computerworld the devices are voice-only, meaning IHS employees better get pretty damn crafty if they want to surf Engadget whilst on the job -- can you say dial-up tether? Either way, with connectivity headed to facilities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Arizona, can the firm's wholesale debut be that far off? We'll have to see, but in the meantime, indulge in the official PR beyond the break.
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LightSquared Delivers on Promise to Indian Health Service, Tribes and Tribal Organizations

RESTON, Va., Aug. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- LightSquared™, the nation's first wholesale-only integrated 4G-LTE wireless broadband and satellite network, announced today the delivery of satellite devices for tribal nations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Arizona. These satellite phones represent LightSquared's commitment to assist the Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribes and Tribal Organizations in reaching American Indian and Alaska Native communities located beyond the reach of landline and cell phone networks.

LightSquared agreed to donate to IHS up to 2,000 satellite phones along with the service to support them. The donation is a reflection of LightSquared's broader mission to bring twenty-first century communications to rural regions including Tribal areas that in some cases still lack basic telecommunications service.

"These satellite phones will play a critical role for health care workers who often find themselves in locations beyond the reach of traditional communications services. For Public Health Nurses (PHNs) and Community Health Representatives (CHRs), the ability to communicate to doctors and other health professionals while visiting patients in the remotest parts of Indian Country has a critical impact on delivery of health care," said IHS CIO Charles Gepford.

IHS is the lead federal health care agency for American Indian and Alaska Native populations. The first wave of LightSquared-provided satellite phones has already been delivered to IHS. These phones will be distributed to Tribally-operated health care facilities including the Coquille Indian Tribe Community Health Center in Coos Bay, Oregon; the Nisqually Tribal Health Clinic in Nisqually, Washington; the Benewah Medical Center in Plummer, Idaho; and facilities in the Tohono O'odham Nation in Sells, Arizona.

Federal and Tribal CHRs, PHNs and ambulances who work from these and other medical centers will be able to use the satellite phones as they travel in remote locations to provide medical care.

LightSquared has a history of providing communications services for improved connectivity in Tribal communities. Through its business partnerships, LightSquared provides equipment and services to Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement vehicles and to school buses operating on Tribal lands in New Mexico and Arizona.

With a similar focus on communities in need, the company has delivered essential communications services to areas hardest hit by natural disasters and destruction such as Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf, the earthquake in Haiti and the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri.

"When providing health care to Tribal communities, medical providers need to focus on the task at hand, not on whether technology will work in rugged conditions," said Sanjiv Ahuja, chairman and chief executive officer of LightSquared. "We're happy to partner with IHS, Tribes and Tribal Organizations to bring critical communications equipment to these underserved communities."

About LightSquared
LightSquared's mission is to revolutionize the U.S. wireless industry. With the creation of the first-ever, wholesale-only nationwide 4G-LTE network integrated with satellite coverage, LightSquared offers people the speed, value and reliability of universal connectivity, wherever they are in the United States. As a wholesale-only operator, LightSquared will deploy an open 4G wireless broadband network to be used by existing and new service providers to sell their own devices, applications and services – at a competitive cost and without retail competition from LightSquared. The deployment and operation of LightSquared's network represent more than $14 billion of private investment over the next eight years. For more information about LightSquared, please go to www.LightSquared.com, www.facebook.com/LightSquared and www.twitter.com/LightSquared.

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