Verizon Wireless -- whose network couldn't handle the deluge of voice calls, texts, and video traffic during last year's Labor Day weekend concerts -- says it has boosted cell capacity by more than 20 percent for the 2013 Made in America event on the Ben Franklin Parkway on Saturday and Sunday.
The wireless company added a fifth permanent cell site in the Parkway area and will park a temporary cell tower in a truck with a diesel generator nearby. The temporary cell tower is expected to be operational Thursday and its location has been approved by the city.
Verizon Wireless had a temporary tower, or "colt," in 2012, but this one will be 5 percent more powerful, Clint Pagano, director of system performance for Verizon Wireless, said Wednesday. Pagano is based in Plymouth Meeting.
There were about 40,000 people at last year's two-day concert, many of them mobile-phone users.
Verizon Wireless' network held up through most of 2012's events but clogged during superstar Jay Z's performance and the fireworks display, when thousands of people tried to text, call, or send pictures at the same time. This year's concerts will run from 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 2 to 11 p.m. Sunday.
Two big draws this year are Beyonce, Jay Z's wife, and Nine Inch Nails.
Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless company, was aware of the problem and took the steps to add cell capacity, Pagano said. He said the Parkway area was considered "dense" for cell capacity even before the fifth new site.
Spokesman Sheldon Jones said the concert would be challenging with so many people potentially using the network at the same time in one area.
"You just don't know," Jones said. "We hope our service is reliable, and it has been in the past, but we can't say for sure."
Made in America Road Closures
Phases of road closures associated with construction at the festival site.
Two lanes in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are closed. These lanes will not reopen until the removal of the staging and equipment after the final concert, or by Tuesday morning.
The inner lanes of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (the inbound and outbound lanes), from 22d Street to Eakins Oval, will be closed until Tuesday.
SOURCE: City of Philadelphia
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