INSIDE VERIZON'S SUPERBOWL NETWORK PREP
By Kelly Hill on JANUARY 29, 2018
The Super Bowl is coming to Minneapolis, and Verizon’s VP of the West is ready — and making sure the carrier’s network is, too.
Mecum is a veteran of cellular network planning for five Super Bowls, and as the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in this weekend’s Super Bowl LII, it is his team who will be ensuring that Verizon’s network is in top condition — not just at the stadium itself, but all around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, to serve the 1 million visitors who are expected to join in the festivities.
Super Bowl planning, Mecum said, means anticipating a network situation where all devices are powered up and constantly transmitting and receiving, no matter where fans are or what they’re doing. That means both coverage reach — even into enclosed areas like bathrooms — and capacity.
“We have learned that people never stop using their devices,” said Mecum. “I like to joke that there are three things people do during the Super Bowl: They are going to the bathroom, eating, or on their phones — only those three. The usage on their phones never stops … [and]there is no place fans don’t want to use their phones.”
People pay a lot of money to go to the Super Bowl in-person, Mecum noted, and they share that experience on social media: tweeting, uploading pictures or video, and checking other people’s reactions.
“You never take your foot off the gas” for a Super Bowl network, he said — and in the age of unlimited data plans, customers have even higher expectations about access and speed. So a Super Bowl network has to exhibit the best in reliability and ability to handle traffic.
To handle the spike in traffic, Verizon has been working for several years now on permanent infrastructure improvements and stepped up work in the past year to complete everything in time. The carrier doesn’t break out its Super Bowl-specific investments, but has put $612 million into its Minnesota network in the past three years and the Twin Cities are the most populous area of the state. According to the carrier, it has boosted its capacity in the Twin Cities by 500% in preparation for the big game, with permanent improvements including two dozen new cell sites and more than 230 small cells with a focus on popular destinations such as Nicollet Mall. The cold climate means that about four to five months a year are largely off the table for certain work, Mecum said, as the ground freezes and it becomes hard or treacherous to do network installation.
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Although an older article, still very interesting!
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