LEARN Delivers Critical News After Hurricane Harvey
When Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in August 2017, it flooded homes, businesses, and roads. Forced to leave their studio due to flooding, KHOU TV in Houston still had to provide information to residents on evolving conditions in the city — information that proved critical during the dangerous storm and its aftermath.
In order to broadcast critical news and information, KHOU needed on-screen text, graphics, and mixing capabilities and the equipment to process those graphics. “We were looking for circuits and I talked to Charles Chambers at the University of Houston,” explained Gary Gunnerson, Sr. IT Architect for TEGNA, a media company that operates 47 television stations including KHOU. Gunnerson was introduced to Akbar Kara, Chief Technology Officer of LEARN, and the two began to discuss alternative solutions. “Our network had survived the storm and had plenty of capacity,” Kara said. “The question was: how do we connect LEARN to WFAA in Dallas?”
"Our mission is always people first."
LEARN served as the primary conduit between KHOU and Dallas station WFAA, which processed the station’s video, until March 2018. It currently serves as a backup circuit as KHOU continues to reestablish their studio and connections. “It just floored me that they could go out of their way to help us as much as they did,” Gunnerson said. “It’s a testament of their desire to help in an emergency situation.” During a moment of crisis, people, and systems working together ensured that the citizens of greater Houston received critical and life-saving information.
“Our mission is always people first,” said Pankaj Shah, LEARN President and CEO. This, Shah says, is what LEARN is all about - supporting institutions and communities through their state-wide research and education network. “We truly believe that LEARN is an extension of our members’ enterprise network. Whether in crises or growth, our subject matter experts carry this torch and repeatedly leverage partnerships to support people while providing seamless and friction-free connectivity.”
The Lonestar Education And Research Network (LEARN) is a consortium of 41 organizations throughout Texas that includes public and private institutions of higher education, community colleges, the National Weather Service, and K–12 public schools. The consortium, organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, connects its members and over 600 affiliated organizations through high performance optical and IP network services to support their research, education, healthcare and public service missions. LEARN is also a leading member of a national community of advance research networks, providing Texas connectivity to national and international research and education networks, enabling cutting-edge research that is increasingly dependent upon sharing large volumes of electronic data.