Major Wireless Carriers Increase Capacity at NATO Locations - NBC Chicago

Major Wireless Carriers Increase Capacity at NATO Locations

Despite increased capacity, some concerned that government, law enforcement will disrupt systems



    AT&T and Verizon Wireless setup portable cell site to deal with the increased cellular traffic that protestors will bring. (Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012)

    In anticipation of the thousands of protesters texting, Facebooking, and Tweeting their every move on their mobile devices during the NATO Summit Sunday and Monday, several wireless carriers have increased their wireless capacity at protest sites, hotels, and of course McCormick Place Convention Center, the site of the Summit.

    AT&T and Verizon have both installed wheeled portable cell sites in Grant Park, and AT&T has added one each at McCormick Place, the Hyatt Regency on E. Wacker, and the JW Marriott on W. Adams as well, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

    AT&T didn't stop there, though, also installing a distributive antenna system at McCormick Place to enhance coverage.

    "It's actually like we've put 10 cell sites into that area," said AT&T Vice President David Fine. "So we've significantly enhanced the coverage there."

    Other Cities Sending Police for NATO

    [CHI] Other Cities Sending Police for NATO
    Police officers from Milwaukee and Philadelphia will join Chicago's finest during the NATO Summit. At the same time, area businesses are ramping up their staffing with private security firms. Michelle Relerford reports.
    (Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012)

    Verizon and U.S. Cellular have also taken steps to increase capacity, but remain unclear on the specifics.

    Some have raised concerns about the amount of control law enforcement will have over the cell systems. While law enforcement does have the ability to disrupt the cell system by sending out an electronic blast, they say they have no intention of doing so.

    According to sources, law enforcement will need the cell system to run smoothly more so than anyone else during the events of the Summit.