Cellphone Power

Dead zones to be removed from Houston tunnels: Underground becomes talk friendly

Dead zones to be removed from Houston tunnels: Underground becomes talk friendly

News, Downtown tunnel
Users of the Downtown Tunnel System will have much-improved reception by this time next year.  Courtesy of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Good news for the more than 70,000 subterranean enthusiasts who traverse Houston's Downtown Tunnel System each day: Your cellular service is about to get stronger. 

City officials are finishing up a deal with dozens of property owners to make reception in the oft-used pedestrian tunnels more reliable and consistent, with plans to vote on a new plan within the next 30 days (KHOU was first to report the deal).

Spotty underground signal has been the tunnels' bane for years, and a deal has long been discussed. The city is taking on the task of repairing those dead zones as part of a larger plan to patch gaps in the radio system used by police officers and firefighters. 

"There will be boosters throughout the entire tunnel system," Chuck Jackson, the operations director for the Houston Downtown Management District, told KHOU. "Verizon is taking the lead in coordinating everyone else to be able to install this." 

The installation of radio repeaters and cell phone antennae is expected to cost the city less than $300,00, with private carriers picking up the cost of the cellphone system.

Tunnel visitors should be able to text and talk to their hearts' content by this time next summer. 

Watch KHOU's full report below: