DETROIT (CBS Detroit) — The Detroit Lions announced Thursday they’ve made a technology upgrade — fans with Verizon Wireless service will have access to free WiFi at Ford Field beginning December 22 when the Lions take on the Atlanta Falcons.

This makes Ford Field the ninth WiFi enabled NFL stadium.

“We were excited to collaborate with Verizon to provide our shared customers with free WiFi at Ford Field,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “It’s another opportunity to enhance our stadium experience and, along with the Detroit Lions mobile app, engage our fans like never before.”

The new high-density WiFi system, designed and built by Verizon, supplements its traditional cell sites that provide wireless coverage in and around Ford Field as well as its existing in-stadium distributed antenna system (DAS).

Verizon’s DAS, which is the standard for densely populated areas where volumes of wireless demand are high, was built into Ford Field in 2006. At the start of the 2012 football season, Verizon began redesigning and expanding its DAS to increase capacity for fans.

“Sports fans are increasingly reliant on their wireless devices for streaming video, accessing social media and downloading their favorite team apps and other content. We built this high-tech network to offer our subscribers another reliable solution that works in tandem with our existing network,” John Granby, president Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky Region, Verizon Wireless.

Approximately 10 miles of blown fiber-optic cable and 15 miles of copper cabling were used to build the new network, which is the first of its kind in any major sports arena in Michigan.


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