Here’s What Carriers Are Doing to Speed Up Super Bowl Selfie Sharing

February 5, 2016, 4:08 PM UTC
Super Bowl City Opening Night Celebration - Chris Isaak in Concert
Chris Isaak performs on Jan. 30, 2016 in San Francisco, California.
Photograph by Trisha Leeper — Getty Images

Millions of fans coming into San Francisco for Super Bowl 50 this weekend means millions of pictures and updates on social networks like Facebook and Instagram.

With that in mind, wireless carriers such as AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) have spent the last two years upgrading their networks in the Bay Area so fans will have a constant access to their data, reported CNet.

For AT&T, that means spending $100 million on upgrade works, including adding more than 525 antennas and 60 miles of cable to their system around Levi’s Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 7. It has also built or upgraded 39 cell sites around San Francisco to ensure no loss of connection.

“The usage patterns at the Super Bowl are very different from any other time on the network,” John Cooke, assistant vice president for engineering radio access at AT&T, told CNet.

Other carriers are doing their part to make sure uploading photos to Instagram at the Super Bowl is a painless process. Verizon has spent $70 million on upgrades, and is deploying a team of 100 engineers on the ground. T-Mobile (TMUS) has improved its LTE network in the Bay Area and added capacity to 150 cell sites serving 32 venues hosting Super Bowl-related events.

Last year’s Super Bowl in Arizona saw 1.7 terabytes of data travel out of the stadium, reported CNet. Much of that was probably due to social media — Facebook (FB) saw 265 million posts, likes and comments during the big game, and Twitter (TWTR) generated over 28 million global tweets over the same span, according to CNBC. That’s a record for both companies for the Super Bowl.

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