Verizon has announced a number of significant network
upgrades in Washington DC ahead of the inauguration of
President-elect Donald Trump later this month.
The operator has boosted its data capacity in the US capital
by more than 500% as it prepares for more than one million
attendees to see Trump become the 45th President of the United
States on 20 January.
Verizon said it will use the inauguration to trial a new
self-optimising antenna technology known as Remote Electrical
Tilt (RET) to adjust antennas and wireless capacity depending
on the movement.
The operator will set up temporary cell sites along the
National Mall, using RET and Matsing Ball technology (pictured,
above) to improve signal. Matsing Ball will allow its engineers
to split the crowd into sectors, which can then be adjusted
individually to optimise the traffic on Verizon’s
Permanent sites in the surrounding areas have also been
upgraded with RET antennas, Verizon said in a blog post, and
will be maintained after Trump is sworn-in.
Verizon said it will also use three-channel carrier
aggregation to enhance peak data speeds by up to 50%. It began
rolling out two-carried aggregation in August.
"Verizon customers attending the Inauguration will have
early access to these new technological advancements we are
deploying widely throughout our network in 2017," said Verizon
Wireless chief network officer Nicola Palmer. "Our customers
have always had the leading technologies first, providing them
with the best experience."
The upgrade comes as demand on the operator’s
network is expected to be significantly higher than the
inauguration of Trump’s predecessor, President
Barack Obama, in 2009.
Then, only 10% of US citizens owned a smartphone, compared
with 88% penetration today. 4G had yet to launch, but now more
than 95% of Verizon’s data traffic runs on its LTE
"We’ve been preparing our network in the D.C.
area for months to be ready for this historic event. Verizon
customers at the inauguration will be using Instagram,
SnapChat, and Twitter to share photos and videos of the
swearing in ceremony, run Facebook Live while attending the
parade, and connect with folks back home, all from their
wireless devices," added Palmer.
Trump beat Hillary Clinton to be named the next US President
in a surprise election win in November. He has since made a
number of moves that could potentially shake-up the US telecoms
market, including an overhaul of the FCC that has seen two
recent appointments made to the regulator’s