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C o m m u n i t y

Calling thoseon Ops T

“Being able to communicate with our loved ones, whilst on operations, is important to us all. Paradigm, one of our valued contractors, makes this possible for us and our families. The WelComE™ service is second to none and my team, along with Paradigm, will keep it so”. Group Captain Mark Heffron, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff J1, at PJHQ.

his year, Paradigm is celebrating 10 years of providing welfare communications to UK troops

deployed worldwide. Te project WelComE (Welfare Communications Everywhere) is now a fully integrated part of the Deployed Welfare Package, DWP(O) offered to entitled UK troops*.

Personnel in theatre are provided with 30 minutes of publicly funded telephone calls a week, as well as Internet access and, in some locations, a newly installed Wi-Fi® service, giving personnel access to their emails from the privacy of their accommodation.

Today, Paradigm uses many different methods to ensure that every user can access the welfare communications services. The specific method depends on the local environment, the number of users and the duration of the deployment. Paradigm makes the service as easy to use as possible by using commercial satellite communication networks, Inmarsat and Iridium mobile satcom solutions, local public telephone access, as well as the recently launched Skynet 5 satellites.

Christie Perrott, a Paradigm Customer Service Representative said: “Communication is vital to the morale of troops, and to know that our service brings some comfort to them and their families and friends during these difficult times makes it all the more important for us. We have a real sense of pride in what we do and build such a rapport with the guys and girls. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that we are putting them in touch with their loved ones”.

Hopefully here is all you need to know about using the WelComE service:

Activating the Paradigm account card On arrival in theatre, each person will be handed a Paradigm account card. The first 30 minutes is already pre-loaded, and once the activation request is received from the J1 administrator, the account is ready to be used.

Number of minutes Those deployed on tours of 2-6 months are entitled to 30 minutes of government funded calls every week which are

34 Winter 2009

automatically credited to account cards every Sunday at midnight.

Topping up the card You will need to contact the WelComE Customer Contact Centre (WCCC) by dialling *0 from any Paradigm provided phone in theatre. Families and friends can also top up by dialling +44 (0)1438 282 121 but will need the 9 digit account card number of their loved one in theatre. Disposable top-up cards can also be purchased from the NAAFI and BFPO in theatre.

Leaving FREE voicemail messages for those in theatre Family and friends will need to: • Dial 0800 051 0737 (freephone when calling from a UK landline only)

• Dial 0800 1808 977 (freephone when calling from a German landline only)

• Dial 8009 6337 (freephone when calling from a Cypriot landline only)

• At voice prompt, enter the 9-digit Paradigm account card number of the person for whom the message is intended

• Leave the message • Hang up

Note: Messages can last up to 2 minutes and up to 10 messages can be stored on an account card at any one time.

Retrieving voicemail messages in theatre for FREE • Press * to enter the voicemail system from your account

• Press 1 to replay a message • Press 4 to repeat the previous message • Press 6 to move forward to the next message

• Press 8 to delete the current message • Press # to exit the voicemail system

Internet facilities Fixed, air conditioned cabins are available in most theatres and with PCs allowing users free Internet access at anytime of the day. This service is subject to the MoD’s content blocking policy and, as with other WelComE™ services, is supported by engineers in theatre and in the UK.

The Wi-Fi service The Wi-Fi service is now available in certain

bases across Afghanistan. The service complements the fixed Internet cabins and is designed to enable personnel to use the messaging service and emails from the comfort of their accommodation areas. Personnel are encouraged to take their own laptops to theatre to benefit from this service. For more information on laptop compatibility and user instructions, contact the WCCC.

Facilities at Forward Bases Outside of the Main Operating Bases, Iridium telephones are provided to allow personnel to phone family and friends. In addition, the BGAN Internet service is provided in some forward locations, giving an Internet solution. In other locations, this service is complemented by the TextLink II allowing troops to communicate by email or SMS text messaging, which families and friends can reply to, and a postal service.

Call rates for using the private side of my account card Posters are available in theatre and are also displayed on the end user website homepage. Full details are also available via the WCCC.

Contacting the WCCC To contact the WCCC from theatre dial *0 from any Paradigm provided phone. Families and friends can contact the WCCC by dialling +44 (0) 1438 282 121 (UK standard call charge). The centre is open Mon-Fri 0600-2200hrs (UK time).

* Entitled UK troops are: Service personnel (military and civil service) and, where appropriate, contractors deployed on operations, exercises and other deployments expected to last for 2 months or more, with a designated name and under the operational command of PJHQ, for which a CDS directive has been issued. For more details on entitlement personnel should contact PJHQ or their welfare office.

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