Can you hear me now?

Cell Service in the Downtown Tunnels Gets an Upgrade

The installation of a new antenna system in the tunnel network means fewer frustrating dropped calls.

By Roxanna Asgarian August 15, 2016

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What has changed in the tunnels: better cell service. What hasn't changed: this awesomely '90s decor.

A new antenna system is aimed at making life easier for Houston’s downtown working crowd by increasing cellular service across all carrier platforms. In a rare coordinated effort, the distributed antenna system—or DAS, for short—was funded by the nation’s top four service providers, so no matter if you’re on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T, your cell should get service throughout the six-mile tunnel route.

Also part of the upgrade is a new public safety communications system throughout the sprawling framework of the tunnels, which exist below 43 buildings downtown. The new system, which will be operated by the city, will help emergency responders get to the right places in the tunnel where people need their help. “It is a major public safety improvement that will eliminate dead zones that had hindered radio communications when our police and fire fighters were responding in the tunnels,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.

But for the average downtown nine-to-fiver, the upgrades also mean you can catch up on social media all through your lunch break or on your way to pick up your dry cleaning—all while staying out of the sun and in the air-conditioning, which is the whole point of the tunnels, right? Now if only we could get a really good map...

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