Chelsea's Stamford Bridge gets full Three 5G coverage - a glimpse at the new normal for Premier League fans?

6 months ago 163
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(Pocket-lint) - The Premier League might be the world's glossiest sporting institution, but visit one of its older grounds and you'll likely still be mired in the bad old days of H+ signal on your phone, unable to check Twitter or send photos to your mates.

Three has set out to demonstrate that things can change by making Chelsea's Stamford Bridge the first Premier League stadium with full, live 5G embedded in it, and the experience is exactly what you'd hope.

That is, you'll get full coverage as you move around the stadium, and the benefit doesn't just extend to fans - if the club's Wi-Fi were to drop out (we've all been there), then having a 5G system as a backup could be invaluable to its analysts and tech team on match days. 

Walking around the unglamorous bowels of the stadium, you can easily see what a big job it's been for Three, too. This is a building that was built in stages, with few of them coming in the last couple of decades, so it's not at all welcoming to modern networking infrastructure.

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Fixing new antennae onto gantries high above the pitch and wiring in miles of cable in order to dot access points around the stadium's concrete interior were both major hurdles, but the system is live and running smoothly now.

Whether Chelsea fans notice or not will likely be down to how much they engage with their smartphones at the ground, but it's also a boon to residents in the local area, who have previously been choked off from their phone signal while 40,000 people watch a match. That problem should be a thing of the past with the massively expanded network capacity that Stamford Bridge has been granted.

Of course, while Three sponsors Chelsea, that's not the case for the rest of the league, so we're not confident that the same sort of attention is coming to the whole Premier League, especially those in older facilities. Still, you'd assume it'll be in place one day, so it's nice to be able to get a glimpse of what that'll feel like.

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.

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