Summerfest ups their cell phone capabilities to meet demand

CREATED May 8, 2013

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MILWAUKEE – Summerfest is just 48 days away and there is something besides the music to get excited about for this year’s big gig: better connectivity.

Many times, when the 75 acres of Summerfest are packed with people and bands, it is hard to get a signal on your cell phone, Internet connectivity is slow and texts and calls are easily dropped or missed completely.

Trevor D’Souza knows the experience and tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka how important service is when you are at Summerfest.

“You're trying to tell somebody I'm at so and so's stage and meet me there and the only way to do that is to use your cell phone, I guess smoke signals don't work anymore,” he explained.

Certainly not in the age of apps, twitter and texting!

So Summerfest is trying to keep up with all the TXTs by sending their old antennas the way of the 8-track, Chief Marketing Officer for Summerfest John Boler explains.

“Our old system was obsolete; it couldn't keep up with the demand and penetration of cell phone user-ship particularly at Summerfest when we have a large amount of people in a relatively confined, 75-acre space,” Boler said.

They are installing more than 250 miles of cable and tripling the number of antennas they have on the grounds.

“It's a multi-million dollar project, we're bringing in all new equipment; we'll now have 65 antennas on 11 buildings,” Boler added.

But so far only one wireless provider has joined the big gig.

“Insight Wireless is the lead manufacturer taking on the installation with the help of AT&T.”

“That sounds like a good progression in the right direction, if it's only AT&T, I don't happen to use AT&T,” D’Souza comments.

And knowing there are plenty of people like D’Souza who don’t use AT&T, Boler is hopeful that other carries will jump on board.

“As we know, there are many other wireless service providers out there and those wireless service providers can subscribe to this service on our property as well,” he said.

Fans just hope that happens before the gates open.

“Summerfest is a great showcase for Milwaukee but in today's day and age, you really do need to be able to use your cell phones so that you can stay in touch with your friends and family,” D’Souza says, regardless of which provider you use.

Find more information on Summerfest here.