SEC Employs Signal Boosters to Improve Cell Reception in Football Stadiums
By Jeff · November 28, 2012
While the SEC might not have a shortage of amazing football teams, what it severely lacks is cell reception in its stadiums. Fans complain that they lose reception up to 3 hours prior to games, which can then last up to an hour after. The problem has become so bad, and fans so vocal, that the conference has started making improvements by employing more equipment, specifically cell phone signal boosters, antennas, and sometimes even more cell towers.
Here's an excerpt from Clarion Ledger article "SEC dominates college football, but not when it comes to cell reception" discussing the problem:
A popular question asked during SEC games this season has been: Do you have any service?
The increasing number of fans unhappy their smartphones and tablets aren't working has become a priority for the mighty Southeastern Conference. The need for more bandwidth at stadiums is a hot-button issue being studied by a fan experience group approved by league presidents and chancellors earlier this year.
The league is trying to take action before fans do.
"I've kind of resigned myself to the fact that checking scores and all that is not possible," said Alabama fan Chad Gilbert. "It really kind of negatively impacts your experience and almost makes it not even fun to go ... You want to follow your other teams' scores or post a picture of your seats. You're kind of shut off from society for a few hours. Obviously, the main reason you're there is to watch the game, but you'd like to communicate with people and share your experience."
Gilbert from Memphis, Tenn., has been a Crimson Tide season-ticket holder since graduating from Alabama nearly a decade ago. He said he's heard before each of the last couple of seasons that getting a connection on his smartphone would be easier — only to be disappointed. He said checking Twitter, Facebook or scores becomes impossible at Alabama's 101,821-seat stadium about three hours before kickoff until about an hour after the game ends.
"I can't do anything on my mobile device because it's so bogged down, and it's mostly people who have my carrier who have that issue. I pretty much know on game day after a certain time it's almost useless to even try," Gilbert said.
The fix seems to be more equipment — antennas, mobile boosters and cell towers.