Notoriously bad wireless connectivity is one of the most frustrating aspects of attending a sporting event for those of us who like to post a selfie — yes that’s a real word — or use the web to find out scores, stats or what others are saying about the game.
When thousands of people descend upon on a small area like a sports stadium, Internet connections on smartphones often fail. But at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, that problem may finally be fixed.
AT&T, the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders’ contracted service provider, just installed a new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that helps bolster AT&T’s wireless coverage throughout the stadium.
At the Seattle Sounders match on Friday night — attended by more than 55,000 fans — GeekWire co-founder John Cook (who has frequently ranted about the poor connectivity in the stadium) was able to send a text and Tweet (something that was not possible at past matches).
Just sent a text and Tweeted from inside CenturyLink!! An amazing thing. Go #soundersfc!
— John Cook (@johnhcook) September 14, 2013
For now, only AT&T customers will see a difference with the big game against San Francisco. But thankfully for everyone else, AT&T built its DAS in a way to allow for additional carriers.
“We would like to thank AT&T, our contracted service provider, for implementing a neutral hosted DAS with the opportunity for all willing carriers to participate” Chip Suttles, VP of Technology for the Seahawks, said in a statement. “Increased connectivity is in line with our objectives to enhance the fan experience for Seahawks and Sounders FC fans.”
The NFL plans to have each of its 31 stadiums equipped with its own WiFi network by 2015. Currently, 11 stadiums have such networks, but a majority do not — including CenturyLink Field.
Editor’s note: The original headline on this post was incorrect.