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August 29, 2019

A Source of Hope in Widespread Darkness

Massive blackout in South America highlights resilience of LMR communications

When a major blackout hit South America in June, nearly 50 million people were left without electricity. The blackout, among the top 20 outages of all time based on the amount of people affected, hit Argentina and Uruguay the hardest, but parts of Brazil and Paraguay were also left without power.

Everyday activities, including riding the subway and grocery shopping, were impossible with public transportation halted and stores closed. In the most dangerous of cases, people requiring at-home medical equipment were urged to make their way to hospitals with generators to ensure their safety and survival.

What could have been a tragedy was resolved with very few serious consequences for Argentina thanks to Motorola Solutions’ always-on land mobile radio (LMR) systems. When nothing else worked, Argentinian first responders confidently turned to their TETRA and P25 land mobile radio systems for support.

Also important was the proactive work of the Motorola Solutions Latin America team who provided real-time updates on the systems’ performance throughout the entire ordeal.

“Our police officers, firefighters, civil defense and some local law enforcement agencies communicated solely via the Motorola Solutions TETRA system during the blackout,” said engineer Ignacio Tabares, secretary of government technologies for the Santa Fe Province in Argentina. “The Motorola Solutions team provided us with assistance from the very beginning to make sure the system was working properly.”

After just 12 hours, power throughout the region was restored. Had it not been for first responders and resilient LMR networks, the situation could have been much worse.

“This situation highlighted not only the importance of the LMR systems we provide, but also how crucial a proactive and collaborative relationship with our customers can be in times of crisis,” said Arturo Carpani Costa, systems sales manager for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. “Disaster situations cause chaos, but our customers can have peace of mind knowing we are constantly monitoring their systems and offering solutions for any issues encountered.”

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