Many people know about the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and that its primary focus involves managing and monitoring critically important aerospace missions in the U.S. and Canada. So, how did it become involved in tracking Santa Claus on December 24th? It started with an accidental phone call in 1965 and has continued for more than 60 years, providing joy to children and a fun holiday tradition for volunteers.
Like most other aspects of life, NORAD Tracks Santa has embraced changes in communications technology. For the 15th consecutive year, Verizon has partnered with NORAD to help connect and support the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline and operations center. Verizon first announced its collaboration with NORAD in 2002, when the company teamed up with NORAD Tracks Santa to provide its toll-free hotline. In 2012, the company expanded its relationship to provide a separate and secure 4G LTE wireless broadband signal for a set of dedicated routers with the code names Comet, Dancer, and Prancer.
So how exactly does NORAD connect with all of these children in one day? The process doesn’t happen overnight.
In the weeks leading up to the holiday, Verizon spends time onsite, testing the IT and making sure that the elves and volunteers have connectivity needed to access the Internet to help track Santa’s progress and instantly respond to emails.