A big upgrade at TCF Bank Stadium is aimed at making football fans happy.
It has nothing to do with the field or the seats–it’s a technology upgrade.
Thursday morning, AT&T and the University of Minnesota announced they’ve expanded the mobile internet coverage at the stadium.
They did it by installing a new 4G LTE distributed antenna system.
It means fans will have consistent, enhanced wireless service–something that hasn’t always been the case in the past.
Whether they win or lose, fans of the Gophers will likely enjoy games at the Bank a whole lot more.
Nothing will stand in the way of posting that selfie or sending a text or tweet from your seat.
Scott Ellison is the University of Minnesota’s associate athletics director.
“Nowadays it is all about technology,” he said. “People are on their phones all the time looking for ways to get the latest stats, the latest replays, to get selfies up and onto the scoreboard. This system will enhance that and improve the game day experience for our fans.”
AT&T says the upgrade will quadruple capacity inside the stadium.
Paul Weirtz is the president of AT&T Minnesota.
“Our DAS investment is roughly equivalent to 339 antennaes and four cell sites,” he said. “Enough to cover a city the size of Minnetonka, with a population of about 50,000.”
The installation will improve call reliability, boost traffic capacity and enable more consistent network access.
Students told us about problems they used to encounter.
Cedric Lawrenz is a senior at the U.
“Sometimes it is really slow,” he said. “Especially if you want to say things on Twitter or send pictures on Instagram. It has kinda sucked in the past but if they are doing this, that’s pretty awesome I guess.
Brian Zoeller is a freshman. “There’s been some concern of just being in a big stadium,” he said. “If there were an emergency, how would you get in contact with family. I think it’s good. Shows initiative. It’s something everyone will be happy to see.”
And now that the Vikings are playing at TCF Bank Stadium during the construction of their new stadium, this upgrade will be appreciated by even more people.
The U says no matter how big the crowd, you really shouldn’t have any interruption of service.
AT&T says this is just the first phase of improvements they will be making across campus through 2015.
This is a nationwide goal, a multi-billion dollar plan to move communities to 4G LTE.
By the end of year, AT&T hopes to be able to offer this level of service to the whole state of Minnesota.