Cell providers improving service at Churchill Downs for Derby 14 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cell providers improving service at Churchill Downs for Derby 140

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Around 150,000 people are set to crowd into Churchill Downs this weekend, and it's a safe bet that nearly every single one will be carrying a cell phone, wanting to post and text all their Derby memories in real time. But unlike in years past, they may be able to do so with ease.

"No more going home, printing it out, 'look what I got at the Kentucky Derby,'" said Michael Kimbro with Verizon Wireless. "It's look what I just took at the Kentucky Derby two seconds ago."

With an increased demand for cell service -- and thousands of people to serve -- providers are upping their game for the 140th Kentucky Derby.

"More speed, more capacity, making sure no customer have dragging internet or connection issues," said Kimbro.

In years past, customers have complained about service inside Churchill Downs.

"You would sit there and it would just twirl saying sending, sending, sending and they'd get it about two hours later," said Greg Brown about trying to send a text message from his seat on Derby Day.

"There was absolutely no signal where we were sitting," said Trever Farrar, who experienced similar problems. "We couldn't get calls, we had to get down to the bottom."

The Kentucky Derby's wireless infrastructure provider, Mobilitie, said it's more than doubling coverage capabilities from last year. The company said upgrades to the multi-carrier antenna system will support the wireless demands of Derby visitors.

Verizon Wireless alone said it not only brought in two temporary towers for the event, but has installed little antenna systems inside Churchill Downs.

"We would rather have more antennas than too few," said Kimbro. 

In fact, Kimbro said Verizon will provide even better service for this year's Derby than it has for past Super Bowls, so everyone will be able to share, tweet and post that perfect photo finish.

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