TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Football fans will be able to get a lot closer to Tom Brady without leaving their couch on Super Bowl Sunday.
Verizon has partnered with the city of Tampa and the NFL to bring 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless cell service to the big game.
Cellular companies like Verizon and T-Mobile started working with the NFL the moment they found out the Super Bowl was coming to Tampa. Over the past two years, you may have seen 5G towers popping up across downtown Tampa, along the Riverwalk and around Raymond James Stadium.
5G is the fastest cellular network technology, significantly faster than 4G, delivering up to 20 Gigabits-per-second. The network will better connect local law enforcement agencies to give them better access to cameras and other crime-stopping technology. It will also give fans at Raymond James Stadium a better connection, so they can post pictures and videos of the game on social media, better connect with friends and tap into different cameras around the stadium during the Super Bowl.
Verizon has spent more than $80 million on getting the network set up across Tampa Bay, as far as St. Petersburg and Clearwater where large crowds of tourists are expected.
“We go out and look at how many people are going to be attending these events and we plan our network around that. Again, this is not just for Super Bowl. It will be for events going forward when we think of Gasparilla, Boom by the Bay, or even Wrestlemania at the Raymond James Stadium,” said Kevin Powell, director of network engineering for Verizon in Tampa.
Those outside the stadium can also expect benefits. The technology will give local families a more reliable connection for working from home, distance learning and video conferencing.
Powell said the technology should benefit local businesses as well. Apps like Uber and Lyft exist today because of 4G technology. With 5G technology, a world-renowned surgeon in Los Angeles could save someone on an operating table in Tampa with a robot and real-time connectivity. He said the next big company or idea could be coming out of Tampa thanks to 5G technology.