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Spring Football Central
 


Augmented 2012 Cell Service Plan for Memorial Stadium

BERKELEY - To improve the gameday wireless experience for Golden Bear fans during the 2012 football season, Cal has contracted with AT&T to install four temporary Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) around Memorial Stadium that will enhance voice and data services in and around the facility.

This interim solution is intended to benefit the tens of thousands of ticket holders who will attend games in the renovated stadium this year. The COWs will be removed after the 2012 season is complete, and a permanent voice and data infrastructure is expected to be implemented in 2013.

The University as a whole has been working directly with AT&T to improve network and Wi-Fi coverage across campus, and the systems set up around Memorial Stadium will benefit users in the Strawberry Canyon area in particular. (see Dec. 6, 2011 press release).

Meeting the wireless demands of attendees is an essential part of the fan experience and another element of Cal's Gold Standard Initiative for customer service. It allows ticket holders to follow the Bears on their mobile devices, connect with fans through their social networks, and be able to communicate inside and outside the facility in case of an emergency. Given the tight construction schedule to make Memorial Stadium game-ready for the Sept. 1 season-opener between Cal and Nevada, the temporary signals will help offer the best connectivity available until long-term improvements can be completed .

COWs are commonly used to bolster service at concerts, fairgrounds, race tracks and other heavily attended public venues across the country. AT&T has extensive experience with these types of systems, with deployments at venues including Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, the Orange Bowl in Miami, and the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

What type of coverage will the temporary service provide?
The COWs will bolster coverage for voice and data services of AT&T wireless customers, including those using its recently deployed 4G LTE network, in areas surrounding the stadium for tailgating and pregame activities, with extended coverage inside the seating bowl and press box for use by fans and media. Residents and customers in the area during non-game hours will also benefit from the boosted coverage. Dedicated in-bowl coverage will be installed for the 2013 season though a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) of strategically-placed antennae that will distribute wireless network coverage throughout the venue - a standard technique used in heavily-trafficked venues

Which subscribers will benefit from the service?
The COWs will strengthen coverage for voice and data service of AT&T subscribers. Permanent network upgrades are scheduled to be completed during the 2013 season and will be capable of supporting other mobile operators, such as Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

For the 2012 season only, non-AT&T subscribers will be dependent on their existing network capabilities, but the size of the crowd will likely limit the viability of the signal.

How important is voice and data service to the fan experience?
Users today are more connected via mobile technologies than ever before, and a stadium served by 3G and 4G LTE technologies can be better equipped to meet this growing demand for wireless service. Customers have come to rely on it for a variety of reasons including social, work, academic and other critical uses.

Have studies been conducted on any potential health risks related to the COWs?
A radio frequency study has been completed for the University to verify that the proposed COW design will comply with FCC-established guidelines to limit exposure to radio frequencies (RF).

The Federal Communications Commission has detailed requirements and guidelines for cell phone radio frequency. Radio frequency, as it relates to cellular antennae, is regulated by the federal FCC, which states that measurements made near typical cellular and PCS cell sites have shown that ground-level power densities are well below the recommended safety standard exposure limits used by the commission. In this specific instance, the University will confirm safety by requiring certification by field measurement on the RF emissions at each service location.

What is the installation schedule for the COWs?
Installation of the COWs, which will comply with all safety-related aspects of the city of Berkeley's Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance, is scheduled to take place the week of Aug. 20, with preparation scheduled the week of Aug. 13. Two of the COWs will be placed on temporary concrete bases and all of them will be enclosed with fencing. System integration will take place once the COWs are in place. The COWs, which resemble large antennae, will be stationed around the perimeter of the stadium - two on the northwest corner of the intersection of Stadium Rim Way and Centennial Drive, one at the south end of Maxwell Family Field and one in the International House Parking Lot to the west of the stadium. They are scheduled to be in operation for the first game on Sept. 1 and will be removed at the end of the 2012 football season.

The COWs near Rim Way and Centennial will be approximately 65-feet high, while the other two will stand about 35-feet tall.

Aug. 15, 2012


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