AT&T unveils $15m network upgrade to boost LTE capacity
AT&T has unveiled plans to invest nearly $15 million in improving its network in Washington DC in preparation for the inauguration of Donald Trump on 20 January.
More than one million visitors are expected in the US capital to see Trump become the 45th President of the United States, putting significant demand on telecoms networks.
Rival Verizon has already announced plans to increase network capacity by more than 500% for the landmark event, while AT&T said it will boost LTE capacity across DC by 400%.
It will upgrade more than 20 cell sites, and launch seven Super Cell on Wheels along the two-mile National Mall stretch. The COWs are temporary network solution and will feature the operator’s highest-capacity antenna, which offers up to 20-times more capacity than traditional cell sites.
The operator will also build or upgrade 20 distributed antenna systems (DAS) in major venues across the US capital, such as hotels and airports.
AT&T said it will also have a team of more than 50 network engineers on-hand to deal with the increased demand and movement of the crowd.
The upgrades have been in the works for more than two years, said AT&T in a blog post.
“Can you imagine what nearly 1 million people will look like standing on the National Mall on Inauguration Day? You can bet nearly all of these people will be holding their phones up high wanting to share the Inauguration of the country’s new President with friends and family through text messages, photos and social media posts.
“Two years ago, before we even knew who was running for President, our network engineers began testing our network and making plans to strengthen it for Inauguration Day. We’re using the process that we have developed for special large events in the past – like last years’ Pope Visit to Philly and big music festivals like Coachella. For the Inauguration deployment, our network engineers are focusing on network speed and capacity so spectators can post selfies and photos to social media from the National Mall without getting stuck in a “network traffic jam.”
Trump will become President after defeating Hillary Clinton in a surprise election win in November. Earlier in the week, he named a number of new appointments to his FCC transition team.