Derby Crowds to Benefit from Verizon Network Upgrades

The “greatest two minutes in sports” is right around the corner with the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2015. More than 150,000 people from all over the world are expected flock to the track and watch the fastest thoroughbreds compete in the first race of the Triple Crown.  To share the excitement, the scenery and their favorite horses, wireless network reliability is essential. As reported by local FOX station WDRB-TV, posting those memorable moments will be an even stronger experience after new enhancements by Verizon engineers.

New “small cell” technology and other upgrades have been added inside and outside of the track to handle the burgeoning traffic generated by the hundreds of thousands of Derby guests who want to share messages, photos and videos via their wireless devices. On Derby day last year, 4G LTE traffic on the Verizon network increased by 224% over Derby day in 2013, and Verizon customers consumed 1.37 terabytes of data. Verizon engineers are prepared for a similar increase in data traffic this year.

"Small cells are part of Verizon's strategy to stay ahead of the growing demand for mobile data by boosting capacity," said Lauren Love-Wright, Verizon Wireless region president for Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan, to the Courier-Journal. Verizon was one of the first carriers to deploy “small cell” technology in Kentucky.

As outlined by Insider Louisville: “There’s nothing worse than trying to update your Facebook status with a Derby Day selfie at the Third Turn and not being able to get a signal, amirite? (Well, there are worse things. But who are we to judge?)  If you have a Verizon phone, your chances at achieving the nirvana of uninterrupted [4G] LTE connectivity amid the masses at the track have just improved. About the size of a suitcase, the small cells are mounted to telephone polls [sic] along Central Avenue and other nearby streets, along with even smaller antennas that top off the polls [sic]. They boost Verizon signals roughly 1,000 feet out and work in concert with the carrier’s other networks, which it also has expanded inside the Downs with the addition of 21 new antennas.”

In addition to the small cells, Verizon will also deploy mobile assets in 2015 including a COW ("cell on wheels"), and a COLT ("cell on light truck"). In Louisville, Verizon also added XLTE capacity – which utilizes Verizon’s AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) spectrum to deliver faster peak speeds and at least double the bandwidth to 4G LTE customers.

For those who haven’t experienced the world’s premiere horse race, the Derby is as much social as sport. From the signature mint juleps to the elaborate hats and outfits, the famed “Twin Spires” and the garland of roses, it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The vast majority of race-goers will be dressed in their colorful best.

Whether you’re headed to the Derby this year or prefer to watch from afar, be sure to check out our Midwest Area Derby-prep series of posts, starting with “The Daily Life of a Thoroughbred in Training.”