Verizon adding small cells in Grant Park to boost data capacity for Lollapalooza

(CHICAGO) With the Lollapalooza music festival about to bring tens of thousands of extra visitors to the downtown area, most with smartphones, Verizon Wireless has decided to increase its available data capacity in Grant Park.

Photo Credit: J. DeSalvo, Lollapalooza, 2013

Verizon has installed 12 new small cells, designed to boost network capacity in highly populated areas, around Grant Park, according to a statement from the company.

Small cells are “strategically positioned within Verizon’s existing network coverage area to add additional 4G LTE capacity where it’s needed,” the statement said.

“Data use grows almost exponentially when you have a lot of people congregated in one location over the course of three days,” said Brian Pascoe, region president of Verizon Wireless.

It’s become the trend for people to share their experiences at live events via social media, which has only meant an increase in data traffic, he said.

During the recent Blackhawks parade and Soldier Field rally, Verizon customers used 4.8 TB of data (one TB can hold about 3.6 million 300 KB photo images, or 300 hours of high-quality video).

“This recent addition of small cells to Grant Park is part of a two-year plan to more than double our already existing 134 small cells in the city of Chicago,” Pascoe said.

The small cells are hidden on existing infrastructure such as light poles, traffic lights and power poles—and you would likely never notice them unless you knew exactly what to look for, he said.