Beginning July 7, around 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries will compete in 223 medal events across 11 days at The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. From Wheelchair Rugby and Drone Racing to Kickboxing and Softball, this unique sporting event is back in the USA for the first time in 40 years and is sure to have fans – both at the venues and at home – on the edge of their seats.
However, long before hundreds of thousands of fans, first responders and athletes descend on Alabama’s largest city, AT&T went to work to deliver world-class connectivity engineered for this event and beyond: helping ensure attendees can share their favorite selfie, athletes can speak with their families back home and emergency responders – from security to paramedics – can reliably communicate.
The Network Built for Fans
The backbone of our network begins with Fiber. It powers direct connections for consumers and businesses, as well as providing the underlying link for America’s Most Reliable 5G Network1 and FirstNet® – America’s public safety network. During the past 2 years in the Birmingham area, we’ve buried nearly 240,000 feet of fiber optic cable or the equivalent of 800 football field lengths.
Additionally, we made thousands of cellular network enhancements, including bringing our fastest 5G service (AT&T 5G+) to 11 of the sporting venues. Attendees will have unprecedented performance in these high-traffic centers now and for future events. Plus, specifically for the Games, we’re deploying 8 Cell on Wheels (COWs) and Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs) to provide extra capacity to fans.
“At AT&T, we are proud of our continued investments in Alabama, especially as we welcome athletes and fans to Birmingham,” said Wayne Hutchens, President, AT&T Alabama. “Our network upgrades will boost speeds, improve public safety connectivity and provide an enhanced experience for our customers during The World Games and in the future.”
Our underlying connectivity will power everything from scanning entry tickets to livestreaming that pivotal game time moment. And we’re prepared for the hundreds of terabytes of data traffic expected to cross our network.
“We’ve spent the past 24 months working on this massive project. We future-readied it, by building in AT&T 5G+ for added coverage,” said Thomas Gandy, RAN Director, AT&T. “We want attendees to be able to connect seamlessly and wow their friends and family with videos and pictures from this unique sporting experience!”
“AT&T’s investments and network upgrades in Birmingham are essential in keeping fans, public safety partners and residents connected throughout The World Games,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “As Birmingham continues to attract world-class sporting and entertainment events, AT&T’s 5G and fiber connectivity ensure that we are prepared for the future with the fastest technology needed for Birmingham to thrive.”
FirstNet: Reliably Connecting Public Safety
As public safety’s partner, we make their mission the priority. That’s why we’re helping deliver FirstNet, the only network built with and for America’s first responders. In fact, The World Games is designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a SEAR 1 event – the highest security rating reserved for significant events with national and/or international importance that require extensive federal interagency support. And that’s why we’ll be at public safety’s side to help ensure they have the communications they need leading up to and during the Games.
“It’s events like The World Games that reinforce why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet,” said Fred Scalera, Director, Response Operations Group, FirstNet Program at AT&T. “Public safety needs to reliably communicate with one another. It’s that simple. By deploying the new FirstNet Communications Vehicle – as well as other key assets from the FirstNet fleet – to the Games, first responders will have the connectivity they require to achieve their mission and help keep fans, event staff and other attendees safe.”
With 6 portable cell sites from the dedicated FirstNet fleet staged and/or on hot-standby for extra redundancy, first responders spanning local, state and federal agencies can reliably communicate, no matter the emergency. The FirstNet Response Operations Group – led by a team of former first responders – will also be onsite at the Emergency Operations Center and other key areas to address public safety’s immediate needs.
First responders are also equipped with always-on priority and preemption across the FirstNet network, protecting them from commercial congestion. And with public safety’s nationwide, high-quality Band 14 spectrum blanketing the area, first responders will have the dedicated connectivity they require when they need it most. It’s this type of unparalleled emergency support that puts FirstNet a cut above the rest.