LALS “Local Administration Linkage System”
The Local Administration Linkage System is a telecommunications network designed to help local authorities in Eastern Ghouta govern effectively, even among the challenges of country in conflict. With the national telecommunications infrastructure damaged by war and blockaded by government authorities, LALS allows authorities to communicate and coordinate to provide goods and services to Syrians in a free, secure, and effective manner.
The conflict that broke out in Syria in 2011 resulted in the retreat of the state in large parts of the country. New civilian governing bodies have emerged to fill the vacuum and provide the goods and services needed for everyday living. Yet, in the chaos of war, these new administrations face incredible challenges in maintaining civil life. Eastern Ghouta has been under siege since 2012 and is subject to regular and indiscriminate attacks from artillery and warplanes. Cut off from the world, there is a critical shortage of basic goods and civilians struggle to access clean water, food, sanitation, and medicine.
While the local authorities do their best to meet the needs of constituents, their duties are severely hampered by consistent disruption to telecommunications by government forces. Infrastructure is routinely and deliberately targeted and mobile and Internet networks are closely monitored. Over the last 6 years the government has regularly enforced total communications blackouts, completely shutting down all communications in the region. Without the ability to communicate, the provincial and local councils cannot coordinate and govern effectively.
Lacking effective governance, the vulnerability of the region’s people was exacerbated and the legitimacy of the local authorities was being eroded, in turn threatening the stability and resilience of the regions.
Roia launched the Local Administration Linkage System (LALS) in Eastern Ghouta in December of 2015 as an alternative telecommunications infrastructure, allowing the local administration to communicate freely, securely, and effectively. A hybrid system combining radio frequency communications with digital wireless technology, LALS provides a crucial alternative to the national communications grid, which has been severely compromised by the conflict.
LALS is a four-part solution to create a closed, secure, and effective area-wide communications service across Eastern Ghouta. A wireless base station connects the region’s administrative offices together in an intranet, where all staff can communicate through voice, video, text, and regular GSM calls. The intranet operates with tailored software that enables council staff to securely and easily store and share data between offices.
A radio system complements the intranet, allowing for instant communication between the council and its partners. Emergency services and civil society organizations keep in contact with councils via radio transmitters and handheld receivers, meaning that services can be coordinated and resources effectively allocated.
The LALS network also gives the councils open access to the Internet. With Eastern Ghouta relying heavily on the support of international NGOs, access to the wider world beyond Syria’s borders is vital. Internet access also gives councils a voice, allowing them to share their stories and experiences with the global media and international community.