Smart City Networks Keeps Houston Connected Amidst Harvey Aftermath

Smart City Networks hosted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday in Houston, TX to review the communications infrastructure at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Park. Smart City’s Tim Wortman, VP of Central Region Operations, and Chris Wharry, General Manager of Houston, gave Chairman Pai a tour and review of efforts within Texas shelters for Houston flood victims.

“Smart City began in Houston more than 30 years ago,” said Mark Haley, President of Smart City Networks. “It was a top priority for us to keep emergency response teams and those affected connected when it matters the most.  We had a productive meeting with Chairman Pai to give the FCC a thorough update on not only our efforts at our Houston facilities to support the local community but also in how we design networks that work reliably for both tradeshows and unexpected events like Harvey.”

Telecommunication infrastructures at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Park include automated redundancy and safeguards that have been built into the networks to ensure reliability in natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.  Also, Smart City has opened up WiFi throughout both facilities and have deployed telephones, internet drops, and power drops as required by city officials and emergency response teams. To date, Smart City has provided communications and electrical to local police, fire staff, FEMA, the Health Department, City of Houston emergency management, pharmaceutical services, and the Red Cross in addition to all flood victims.

In addition to the two shelters in Houston, Smart City has also played an essential role in telecommunication efforts at shelters opened in the Ft. Worth Convention Center (Ft. Worth) and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (Dallas). Smart City provided WiFi throughout both venues along with hardline phones, internet drops and VLAN connections for emergency responders and the Red Cross. The Dallas shelter provided a unique challenge to the Smart City team. Due to flood victims occupying the parking garage within the convention center, local techs had to build an infrastructure from scratch to accommodate those affected.

With over 20,000 flood victims between the three local shelters, the Smart City team was able to set up networks for all three centers and open a larger bandwidth to accommodate high usage, which has stayed steady at about 1,000 continuous users per day.

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