Emergency Response

Podcast: Connecting Puerto Rico with Rafael Bobe

The Last Mile Podcast features in-depth interviews with operators on the front lines of remote and austere missions around the world.

Rafael Bobe, owner of LCG Holdings in Puerto Rico, knows the value of reliable and resilient communications networks. He was on the ground during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and experienced the staggering loss of critical cell and satellite connectivity firsthand. The lack of communications made every logistical aspect of the disaster response effort much more dangerous and difficult, and on a personal level, made it impossible to stay connected with loved ones during the chaos.

Since then, Rafael has set out to make sure emergency communications are never a challenge on the island again. He’s coordinated several large-scale tests of mesh networking technology — a cost-effective and scalable solution that doesn’t rely on Puerto Rico’s fixed infrastructure and towers, which are typically the first casualty of any disaster. 

Topographic map of goTenna Pro testing sites in San Juan, Bayamon and Orocovis showing a max of 23.1 miles of connectivity using a drone in Bayamon and a helicopter over the mountain in Orocovis.
The test team successfully sent off-grid text messages from Orocovis to Bayamón in Puerto Rico using a single goTenna Pro mesh network hop — a total distance of 23.1 miles.

Rafael has gone to great heights, quite literally, to demonstrate the success of off-grid communications networks. The Last Mile recently sat down with Rafael to hear how he created a long-range, aerial mesh network that connected one of Puerto Rico’s highest peaks to the inside of Governor’s Mansion in San Juan. He also shares his equally personal and informed perspective on the unique challenges island communities face during large-scale emergencies, and what he believes will be Puerto Rico’s way forward. 

Invitation to watch or listen to the goTenna Pro Virtual Demo for Emergency Response Teams

Click the play button below to hear the entire discussion with Rafael Bobe:

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The Author

Ryan Schradin

Ryan Schradin

Ryan Schradin is the Executive Editor of The Last Mile. A communications expert and journalist with over a decade of experience, Ryan has edited and contributed to multiple popular online trade publications focused on unified communications and network infrastructure industries.

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