EE builds permanent masts at Glastonbury 2017 as it expects a third increase in the amount of 4G traffic
EE expects 40TB of data to be consumed by festival goers during Glastonbury this year – a third more than last year’s festival – and is constructing a permanent mast at the Worthy Farm site for the first time.
The operator has been the official technology and communications partner for the event for the past five years and in 2016 constructed the UK’s biggest and most powerful temporary 4G network. This involved temporary base stations and additional 2.6GHz high capacity spectrum.
For 2017 it is doing the same, but even bigger. A permanent mast will offer coverage not only to the 175,000 temporary visitors but also to the long-suffering residents of Glastonbury as EE seeks to achieve 92 percent geographical coverage by the end of the year and 95 percent by 2020.
EE Glastonbury 4G
The decision to install permanent infrastructure has also been motivated by increased data consumption. EE says the rise of streaming services like Facebook Live and the emergence of Instagram Stories will drive usage even higher than the 25TB recorded in 2016. Even that was surprising as EE had predicted 15TB.
The growth demonstrates not just the challenge of building mobile networks in general but also ensuring there is enough capacity at major events like music festivals and sport.
“Since EE first launched 4G in the UK, we’ve worked with the team at Glastonbury to give festival-goers the best possible network experience,” commented Mat Sears, director of communications and sponsorship at EE.
“A few years ago that meant making sure people could simply post status updates and photos, but with social media continuing its rapid growth … those on site now require more data for video than ever before.”
EE has again built the official Glastonbury mobile application, which includes news, BBC streams and the ability for users to drop location pins so they don’t lose their tent and can navigate the festival site.
Recharge tents will also be available and will offer wireless charging and quick charge for compatible smartphones. There is also the option to purchase a power bar and swap it at these tents for £20.
“Our customers will be able to treat their friends at home by sharing all of the thrilling behind-the-scenes stuff that Glastonbury has to offer over our superfast 4G network, and we’re incredibly excited to be able to help make that happen,” added Sears.