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Kinnick, Carver to upgrade cell service

BY IAN MURPHY | MAY 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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Officials hope for many interceptions by the Hawkeye defense this fall and for more reception in the stands.

New technology is being implemented at Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena that will improve cell-phone signals for fans, an essential part of the game-day experience, Athletics Department officials said. The goal is to have the improvements ready this fall.

“When you buy a ticket, we try to have the best possible experience,” said Hawkeye Senior Associate Athletics Director Jane Meyer.

Meyer said the Athletics Department will install a distributed antenna system in the facilities. The system is a network of a cell-phone towers and antennas designed to boost cell-phone reception and data speed.

The new system will not cost the university or the Athletics Department any money, Meyer said. She said cell-phone companies buy in to a neutral vendor that owns the tower.

“It’s not specific to one cell-phone company,” she said. “That cell-phone tower will carry all the companies that buy into it.”

Meyer said the system can be used for phone calls and text messages, as well as allow fans and officials to make calls in emergencies.

“When you’re in there, it’s important to be able to make phone calls,” she said.

Students said they would be glad to see cell service improve in the stadium.

Matthew Hoffmann, a freshman history major, said he sat front row at many of the football games last fall.

“I usually get front row,” he said. “It would be nice to get better service down there.”

Other Big Ten programs are rolling out similar systems. Indiana University is implementing similar technologies for 2014 as well, said Chuck Crabb, the Hoosier assistant athletics director for facilities. He said this will be the first year the system will be utilized in both the football stadium and the school’s basketball arena.

He said the size and purpose of the structures create problems for cell-phone reception. 

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Jeff Cieply, the associate athletic director for marketing and sales at IU. “Whether it’s a 70,000 person open-air stadium or a cracker-box gym, it’s a unique challenge.”

That statement applies to Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena as well.

“When you put 70,000 to 80,000 people in that environment, that presents a challenge,” Meyer said.

Ohio State University rolled out a similar system at Ohio Stadium last year, said Jerry Emig, an associate sports information director at Ohio State University.

Emig said Ohio Stadium has 278 antennas in 24 zones of the stadium, which equates to eight regular cell-phone towers and nearly 16 miles of cable.


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