AT&T hopes to boost mobile access at Sanford Stadium [Athens Banner-Herald, Ga.]
(Athens Banner-Herald (GA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 21--Posting gameday selfies at Sandford Stadium might get easier for AT&T customers in the 2014 football season.
The telecommunications company will be making a multi-million investment in its micro-antenna during the spring, said Paul Chambers, northeast Georgia regional director for external affairs for AT&T.
The result should be 10 to 12 times greater data capacity for its wireless network in the stadium, he said, though non-AT&T customers will be left where the pages won't load.
He also didn't skirt that it's boon will be almost exclusive to those who join 90,000 of their closest friends when the Bulldogs play between the hedges.
"It's really good for about eight Saturdays a year," Chamber said, referring to the six home games, spring practice game and graduation, unless another major concert comes to Sanford.
But it's worth it to the company, especially since its the official wireless provider of Georgia athletics, he said.
"You've got to protect your brand," he said.
AT&T aims to have the work done by G-Day, the annual spring practice game played by the Bulldogs, but it's unclear if that will happen, Chambers said. Barring a calamity, it will definitely be done in time for the 2014 season, though.
He said the investment was spurred by the sudden stress on the data network: Over the past six years, demand has increased by a factor of 300.
"That's just a huge number," Chambers said. "So you start with the reality of the incredible demand and you say as a company our customers expect us to keep up with the demands and every day we attempt to do that."
He noted that AT&T has invested $3.9 billion in infrastructure improvements over the past three years, from speed upgrades to its wireless services to installing more fiber optic cables for its wired networks.
Fiber took particular precedent in Athens, he said, as well as expanding its U-verse digital cable and Internet service. It's also doubled its LTE cell capacity for cellphones in downtown and on the University of Georgia campus.
"Athens tends to be on the cutting edge of AT&T capital investment simply because it's such an emerging youthful market," Chambers said.
Follow business and government reporter Nick Coltrain at http://www.facebook.com/NickColtrainABH or on Twitter @NColtrain.
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