YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesATLANTA STEPS UP ITS COMMUNICA TIONS NETWORK FOR '96 OLYMPICS

ATLANTA STEPS UP ITS COMMUNICA TIONS NETWORK FOR ’96 OLYMPICS

BellSouth Mobility said it expects to sell an additional 1 million minutes of airtime per day during the 1996 Olympic Games that begin in three months in Atlanta.

The symbolic torch is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles from Greece on April 27. Then after an 84-day trip across the United States, it will reach Atlanta on July 19.

Thousands of news reporters and international security experts-both groups heavy wireless users-will be in the area weeks before and after the games. The city of Atlanta has built an 85,000-seat Olympic Stadium downtown, but events also will be held at several sites outside of town. A high-capacity, cohesive network connecting the airport, highways, the stadium, 10,700 athletes, their dormitories and all venues associated with the games was needed.

The event prompted Atlanta’s B-side cellular carrier, BellSouth Mobility, to upgrade its northern Georgia footprint years ahead of schedule, said David Walker, network manager of BellSouth Mobility’s Olympic project. The upgrade includes the deployment of Time Division Multiple Access digital technology.

Motorola Inc. has built an enormous two-way radio network for security, game management and transportation. Both companies are Olympic sponsors.

BellSouth installed two new macrosystem sites downtown, adding 3,100 new and additional voice channels in the stadium area. Capacity there will increase 800 percent during the event, the company said. The cell site at the Olympic Stadium will remain there after the games because the stadium will become the home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team next year.

Another cell site was installed at the home of the University of Georgia football team, a 85,000-seat stadium in Athens, Ga., where the Olympic soccer games will be held. BellSouth intends to lease dual-mode cellular phones to visitors.

TDMA digital service will be turned on in May for the Olympics and the Paralympic Games that follow, then turned off in September. Olympic TDMA coverage will include a six-mile-wide strip through downtown, the 24-mile route to the airport, and the Athens stadium. TDMA will be activated commercially throughout northern Georgia during the first quarter of 1997, said BellSouth.

Seventeen Cellsites-On-Wheels (COWS) will be placed around the metro area and at outside venues to increase capacity. For unexpected plan changes, BellSouth can deploy Cellsites-On-Light-Trucks (COLTS). BellSouth used COLTS last year during the World Series in Atlanta.

“We can use a truck like a U-Haul, put electronics on the back and drive where we want,” said BellSouth’s Walker. “It has a telescopic monopole that goes up 62 feet, and we hang antennas at the top of that. It allows quick flexibility for deployment for any contingency that might arrive.”

The radios will use Motorola’s digital technologies, Astro and iDEN (integrated dispatch enhanced network).

The Illinois-based manufacturer says it is the largest two-way radio network ever developed for an athletic event. For instance, Motorola is providing 10,000 portable and mobile radios.

Three communication towers have been erected, and six equipment shelters were constructed for network controllers, 250 repeaters, antennas and transmission lines. Motorola expects all testing to be completed this month.

A six-site simulcast system will serve the metro area. Another two-site simulcast system will operate throughout the Olympic Stadium area. A stand-along system will be installed at the Olympic Village dormitories at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Stand-along radio systems have been constructed at venues outside of the metro area. Two transportable trunked radio systems will be available.

Because Motorola has created a system that allows interoperability with public safety systems in that area, the state of Georgia is negotiating to purchase Motorola’s Olympic system for state public safety purposes, according to the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

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