Advanced Television

Virgin Media O2 amps up network capacity at UK events

August 27, 2021

Ahead of the August bank holiday, Virgin Media O2 has detailed the network coverage enhancements it has provided for sport and music fans at 17 events so far this summer – with another 14 to come.

Virgin Media O2 has been working behind the scenes at locations including Silverstone and Reading and Leeds festival, installing temporary sites to boost outdoor coverage and network speeds, enabling more customers to connect at speed in densely populated areas.

Signalling the return of spectator sport

To welcome sports fans back, Virgin Media O2 has already installed a number of temporary sites to facilitate the higher volume of network traffic. In July, Virgin Media O2 deployed a fully-functional temporary ‘Cell on Wheels’ (COW) in a record 24 hours, to support 5 Terabytes of customer data and 180,000 customer calls around Wembley on the weekend of the Euro 2020 final.

At Silverstone, the delivery of 5G across temporary sites in the area was key in effectively handling a data traffic increase of 67 per cent at the event. Virgin Media O2 has kept three temporary sites in place at the track to support further events this year, including the Silverstone Classic event and Moto GP event over the bank holiday weekend.

And at the Scottish Open, Virgin Media O2 rolled out a new piece of special events equipment – the T-24 trailer – which elevates mobile masts by 24 metres. This eliminated the need for additional transition masts to be installed in the area, and also had a small positive impact on the carbon footprint at the event.

Ready for Reading & Leeds

Virgin Media O2 is deploying network boosts at 15 major music festivals across the UK this summer, including All Points East, South West Four (SW4), Reading and Leeds and Wireless Festival. At Reading and Leeds this weekend alone, the festival will welcome 200,000 attendees – and making sure they can all stay connected is vital.

IVirgin Media O2 is also supporting the world’s first-ever 5G-powered hybrid festival combining elements of live, in-person performance, remote collaboration and augmented reality. The festival, due to take place early next year, completed another successful round of trials this summer, bringing together a group of artists to play together while physically remote.

Emma Evans, Head of Network Experience at Virgin Media O2, commented: “As we all enjoy a well-deserved summer of freedom and fun, Virgin Media O2 is working hard to ensure your connectivity remains uninterrupted as well. We’ve already provided a host of innovations and support to large events – whether that’s bringing extra 5G to support Silverstone or reducing our carbon footprint at the Scottish open with our new T-24 trailer. The summer’s not over yet, and we’re continuing to support customers packing their bags (and maybe wellies) for a host of festivals, including Reading and Leeds this weekend. At large events our network has to work harder to maintain capacity to give our customers the best possible experience. So it was great that this year we were recognised for our network coverage and reliability with GWS ranking us as the most reliable UK network for the third year in a row and Uswitch naming us as the operator with the best network coverage every year since 2018.”

As summer draws to a close, the Virgin Media O2 events team will re-focus its attention toward other key calendar moments, including major one-off events such as COP26 in Glasgow as well as more classical events such as Winter Wonderland.

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