Connectivity Deployed for Super Bowl Will Live On

Outdoor cellular network deployed for NFL championship delivers long-term benefits

By J. Sharpe Smith

The videos, web searches, social media updates and more made by Verizon customers in the Bay Area on game day and throughout Super Bowl week added up to 68.6 terabytes (TB) of wireless data, or the equivalent of 45 million social media posts. The golden anniversary Super Bowl now holds the unofficial record as the most connected and shared championship game in history, which was made possible by a $70 million long-term investment by Verizon to more than triple its 4G LTE wireless data network capacity in the Bay Area.

Super Bowl Sunday Shatters Record

Fans at Levi’s Stadium racked up more than 7 terabytes of data on the Verizon network alone on game day. In comparison, at the 2015 Super Bowl, Verizon customers in Phoenix used 4.1 TB of data and in 2014 fans in New Jersey used 1.9 TB, which marks a 268 percent or nearly three-fold increase in usage.

For the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Verizon customers were able to use more than 30 TB of data thanks to the added 4G LTE capacity through a network of small cells, macro cell sites and mobile cell sites. That investment will benefit customers living in and traveling to northern California well into the future.

ExteNet Leverages Existing Utility Poles, Street Lights for Small Cells

ExteNet Systems did its part in facilitating the massive amounts of wireless data. The company’s distributed network, which comprises hundreds of small cell locations, leveraged the City and County of San Francisco’s existing utility and street lighting infrastructure. The cooperation of the city and local utilities, combined with ExteNet’s vast experience in small cell deployments, helped complete the entire project in a relatively short time compared to past deployments.

Ross Manire, ExteNet Systems president and CEO, said the benefits of the wireless deployment would last well beyond the final play of the game.

“As the city continues to grow and prepare for extensive events, we are proud to help support its advanced connectivity needs. This network will also bring a new revenue stream to the city as well as enhance public safety and security in the area,” he said.

City and County of San Francisco chief information officer, Miguel Gamiño, agreed that while the Super Bowl required investments to meet the demands for higher than normal data usage, the resulting infrastructure will provide long-term benefits for “future large-scale events and daily use in San Francisco.” Additionally, the installation of broadband fiber has resulted in a more technologically advanced city.

Working With the City

ExteNet Systems’ San Francisco distributed network was the culmination of two years of design, engineering and implementation efforts in conjunction with the San Francisco City wireless planner, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Municipal Transportation Agency and several other entities.

Omar Masry, wireless planner for the City of San Francisco, said, “The use of new cellular technologies by ExteNet allows for a smaller and less intrusive small cell on utility poles by doing away with a bulky meter box and glass bubble near pedestrian level.”

Measures were taken to ensure minimal disruption to San Francisco residents and businesses, while adhering to the aesthetic needs and requirements of the city. The network, designed to help the City prepare for the pro football championship game, will deliver ongoing connectivity benefits to the entire community for years to come. The city’s communications infrastructure stands improved, the communications services are now state of the art, and the City benefits from a new revenue stream.

Robert Erickson, vice president of implementation at ExteNet Systems, said, “Tremendous efforts were made to ensure that the aesthetic needs of the City, its residents and businesses were met and if you traverse the streets of the City today, the network elements are virtually unnoticeable.

“The network was implemented in less than 12 months and the entire 80 miles of broadband fiber were deployed leveraging assets already available and underutilized. A deployment of this magnitude was possible due to the innovative access to existing pole and conduit infrastructure that ExteNet was able to secure,” he added.

Press Releases from Verizon and ExteNet Contributed to this article.