The city of Santa Clara's electrical utility announced today it would partner with a tech company to install a $2 million wireless system near Levi's Stadium to alleviate phone and data congestion before the stadium hosts the 2016 Super Bowl.
Silicon Valley Power and Walnut Creek-based DAS Group Professionals plan to mount 40 antennas inside power poles in the area of the stadium, California's Great America theme park and the Santa Clara Convention Center, utility spokesman Larry Owens said.
The antennas, when activated, would permit customers of cellular phone carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint to latch onto the system to complete calls and download data from their cellular phones, Owens said.
"It's like adding new lanes to a cellphone highway out there," Owens said. "It takes some of the traffic off of the cellphone providers."
The carriers would pay fees to Silicon Valley Power to offer the service to their customers in crowded places in Santa Clara where some have experienced incomplete or dropped calls and limited Internet data connections due to high demand, he said.
"This eliminates the need for all (carriers) to have their own equipment there," Owens said. "It helps them improve service to their customers."
From the fees, the city-run utility expects to pay off the system's $2 million cost and start turning a profit within two to three years, he said.
The utility and the company, known as DGP, will begin placing radios and antennas for the wireless system inside power poles in the area of Tasman Drive and Great America Parkway by the middle of the year, Owens said
A building needed to house servers, connected by fiber optic cables, would be completed by the end of the year and in time to handle the neighborhood's cell traffic when Levi's Stadium hosts the NFL national championship Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, 2016, he said.
"The Super Bowl is a clear goal but the area needs this enhancement regardless," Owens said.
Levi's Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, opened last year with a wireless system for use by fans inside during football games and other events there.
DGP built and maintains the system in the stadium and will do the same for the planned expansion, Owens said.