Bigger and better.
That’s the promise from cellular providers, who are beefing up their networks like never before ahead of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Verizon, for instance, says it has brought one of its “masting ball” antennas to town. The antenna, which weighs 600 pounds and contains 36 smaller antennas to help divide and balance traffic, is expected to boost capacity around Zilker Park by 450 percent.
It’s the first time Verizon has brought a masting ball antenna to Austin. They’ve been previously used at the Super Bowl and during the presidential inauguration.
AT&T is upping its ACL game, as well.
The Dallas-based carrier says it brought two cell-on-wheels portable cell towers – or COWs – to Austin this year. The COWs are equipped with “eyeball” antennas capable of carrying 10 times more traffic than a normal tower.
Together, they’re expected to boost AT&T’s network capacity by 65 percent compared to last year’s ACL.
In 2016, AT&T reports its customers used 27 terabytes of data during the two-weekend festival. That’s equivalent to streaming a Jay-Z song 6.8 million times, the company said.
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