Whether it’s a scrimmage or the final championship game, every play matters – from the snap of the ball until the last whistle is blown. But the preparation for a big game takes place long before kickoff. To be a champion takes dedication from the whole team – of time, resources and energy – so that everyone is in the best position to tackle the challenges to come.
Something I’ve learned throughout my many rewarding years helping to expand connectivity, and through the highs and lows of being a Sun Devils fan, is that big things don’t happen overnight. It takes time and a lot of fortitude to reach greater heights.
So, while the teams are finalizing game plans and fans begin their journey to the Grand Canyon State for the Big Game, I’ve been reflecting on the preparations we’ve made here alongside the FirstNet®, Built with AT&T team in preparation for one of the most popular U.S. sporting events of the year.
Our teams have been designing their own game plans for Glendale and the surrounding areas to help make sure that no matter where fans are watching the action – at the stadium or at nearby venues – the AT&T and FirstNet networks are ready and in position. To that end, we’ve made extensive network investments and upgrades to boost network reliability and capacity to best serve the influx of people across the Greater Phoenix area.
- In Arizona, we invested more than $625 million in our wireless and wireline networks from 2019-2021, including more than $375 million in Phoenix, Mesa, and Glendale. And we’re building on these past investments in preparation for the Big Game.
We’re enhancing connections for fans attending the game at State Farm Stadium by:
- The more than 2,000 wireless network antennas serving the interior of the stadium, supported by 12 miles of fiber and power cables delivering AT&T and FirstNet network coverage and capacity to seating areas on all levels.
- 5G, Band 14 and commercial 4G LTE deployed technologies and boosted our network capacity for that ultra-fast data experience with AT&T 5G+ inside the stadium.
All of these assets will be working together to connect fans, staff and first responders so that when the time comes, they can make that celebratory phone call, post a clip of the winning play or respond to an emergency call.
We’ve also upgraded our network outside of the stadium:
- Deployed over 60 small cells supported by 15 miles of fiber and power cables that provide Band 14, 5G, 5G+ and 4G LTE to cover the tailgating and Westgate area.
- Supporting the NFL by performing network upgrades at venue locations where they will be hosting special event activities including Footprint Center Arena, Phoenix Convention Center, Symphony Hall, Gila River Arena, and Arizona State University campus.
Through these upgrades, we’re prepared for routine plays, and our network and FirstNet teams have been strengthening our rosters to be prepared in the case of emergencies as well. In addition to the FirstNet Response Operations Group – led by former first responders – being on-site during the game, we’re rolling out 4 COWs (Cell on Wheels) for NFL event locations such as Margaret T. Hance Park, Arizona State Fairgrounds, Glendale Training Facility and Old Town Scottsdale covering the ESPN Fan Zone and Main Street tailgate event. The team has also stationed 4 FirstNet SatCOLTs (Satellite Cell on Light Trucks), a Communications Vehicle (CV) and 2 Compact Rapid Deployables (CRDs) that will quickly provide dedicated FirstNet connectivity to first responders in the case of an emergency.
Beyond the game, all these investments and enhancements point to the goal of curating a network that is durable against future interruptions or unexpected crises long after the play clock expires. Just as players train to make critical decisions at high stress moments, we’re focused on providing communities and customers a network they can rely on no matter the circumstances.
We’re excited about our work so far and will continue our investment in the Grand Canyon State – because we know connection changes everything. Just last year, we’ve deployed a number of new cell sites to connect more Arizonians to greater possibility.
I’m especially excited about our investment into the expansion of our fiber network in the state. Thanks to the hard work of our employees on the ground, careful planning and thoughtful investments over the past few years – 100,000 homes in and around Mesa are being connected this year.
Learn more about how Arizonians are getting connected to fiber.
Through investments like new cell sites and our fiber expansion, Arizonians are going to not only be connected for the Big Game this Sunday, but to countless opportunities in the years to come.
The bottom line: As the Big Game draws closer and the teams get ready to take the field, we understand that months and months of planning, practice and hard work are what carries teams to championships. Here in Arizona, we’re committed to continuing to do our part to be champions of connectivity and help Arizonians feel like winners.