Denver, Dec. 20, 2007 – Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) announced it is continuing its support of the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) mission of aerospace warning and control as it tracks Santa Claus during his annual flight around the world starting next Monday.
To complement top U.S. and Canadian military technology, including satellite, radar and fighter jets, Qwest will provide the voice network for the NORAD Tracks Santa (NTS) Operations Center in preparation for Santa’s launch from the North Pole on Dec. 24.
“NORAD provides aerospace security for North America 365 days a year. But on Christmas Eve, it performs the additional mission of tracking Santa around the world,” said Maj. Stacia Reddish, the project officer for NTS.
“The advantage Qwest can give to NORAD as it executes this important mission is that our network is way faster than Santa – and the jet fighters,” said Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of Qwest Government Services.
Tracking Santa for 52 Years
NORAD has tracked Santa since 1955 when an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper had misprinted the phone number to call Santa. Children who dialed the wrong number instead reached Col. Harry Shoup, the commander on duty in the Air Operations Center. Rather than hanging up, Col. Shoup had his operators “find the location of Santa Claus” on their radars and reported the information to every child who called that Christmas Eve.
This tradition has continued and grown every year since. In 2006, the NTS Web site received nearly 1 billion hits from 210 countries and territories, and the NTS Operations Center received nearly 500,000 telephone calls.
In the Spirit of Service® this holiday season, Qwest provides the voice network for NTS so children of all ages can call for real-time tracking information for Santa Claus during his important flight. The program is managed by NORAD and U.S. Northern Command Public Affairs Office at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
Starting at 2 a.m. MST on Monday, Dec. 24 to 2 a.m. MST on Tuesday, Dec. 25, the toll-free phone lines will be open at 1-877-HI-NORAD for children to speak directly with one of more than 750 volunteers at NORAD who are tracking Santa.
Families can also stay hot on Santa’s tail by logging on to www.qwest.com for a direct link to the NTS Web site, which has 2-D and 3-D maps to follow Santa’s journey and know exactly when he is coming to town.
Qwest is a leading provider of broadband, video and voice solutions to the U.S. government, including Peterson Air Force Base, and is in the “Top 100 Federal Prime Contractors” as ranked by Washington Technology magazine.
Qwest offers a powerful combination of award-winning broadband, video and voice solutions for residential customers, businesses and government agencies. Customers coast to coast turn to Qwest's industry-leading national fiber optic network to meet their evolving communications and entertainment needs. Qwest employees are the driving force behind the company’s nationally recognized Spirit of Service. Qwest is a participant in Networx, the largest communications services contract in the world, to provide innovative voice, data and video services. For more information on Qwest please visit www.qwest.com. For information about the products and services Qwest is offering in the Networx contract, visit www.gsanetworx.com