Verizon upgrades Houston operations center in preparation for storm season

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 6:10 PM

HOUSTON – It’s time to be prepared for hurricane season and Verizon is learning lessons from past storms about restoring cell phone service.

KHOU 11 News Anchor Ron Trevino got a rare, exclusive look at their upgrades inside their main operations center.

The memories of Hurricane Ike are still fresh for many – the devastation left behind and the problems during and after the storm – just trying to use your cell phone.

At Verizon Wireless’ super switch network processing center, they know how vital their jobs are during a powerful storm.

“Harris County, the city of Houston, agencies like that, depend on us to help speed the recovery provide emergency services and relief services,” Nash Higgens, with Verizon, said.

Verizon invested more than $129 million last year to strengthen and enhance its wireless network in the Houston area. It’s meant, among other things, more generators, more battery backup and more fiber optic lines

There’s also another upgrade. Verizon has expanded its fleet of cell sites on wheels. These are basically portable cell phone towers that can be rolled into a hard hit area, or an area that needs expanded network coverage.

“These are very critical during a storm; we keep them up all year long, because they have to be deployed at a moment’s notice.” Barnaby Robertson, Verizon Switch Operations manager, said.

Even if you’re not a Verizon customer, you should still care about all this, because a lot of local emergency personnel do rely on Verizon service.

And communication during a storm can be a life-saver.

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