VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Along the famous three mile boardwalk of Virginia Beach where rollerbladers skate, sunbathers soak up the rays, music lovers gather for festivals and vendors sell their hot dogs and snow cones, Verizon and the City of Virginia Beach are teaming up to make communication easier and the boardwalk safer. Through a unique and mutually beneficial agreement, Verizon will place 14 pole-mounted small cell sites along the boardwalk, providing reliable and robust 4G and 5G Ultra Wideband cell service along the famous strip, while the city police department will populate those same poles, already connected with power and fiber, with cameras and public address horns to enhance public safety efforts.
“This is a fantastic realization of what can happen when we look holistically at the needs of a community and work together to meet those needs,” said James Hoffman who manages Product Strategy and Global Network and Technology partnerships at Verizon. “We are thrilled to be part of this collaboration to bring communication and safety services to an area enjoyed by so many.”
“Improved communication on the Boardwalk coupled with the enhancements to public safety will allow our residents and visitors to feel safe and stay connected while enjoying all we have to offer in this beautiful area,” said the Honorable Robert “Bobby” M. Dyer, Mayor of the City of Virginia Beach. “We couldn’t be more pleased with this collaboration.”
The need and desire to connect has never been greater. In fact, Verizon saw a 53 percent increase in data usage on the network in 2022 versus 2021. Whether it’s video chatting with friends and family, ordering food or rides,sharing exciting moments in real time or streaming entertainment, the exponential increase in data is a driving force behind Verizon’s record fast deployment of 5G Ultra Wideband service, a service designed specifically for high-volume and fast speeds.
“Along the boardwalk, we are deploying our most robust 5G service using our extreme capacity mmWave spectrum,” said Julie Slattery, VP of Engineering and Operations at Verizon. “By using this spectrum on the small cell design we and the city collaborated on, we will be able to offer massive capacity and an exceptionally good experience for residents who enjoy relaxed coastal living year-round and for the millions who flock to the Boardwalk for summer sun and events throughout the busy season.”
That will be especially important as the city welcomes back the popular “Something in the Water” music festival this spring. The festival, which in the past has attracted approximately 40,000 visitors, is expecting its biggest crowd ever. At the Sea Hear Now music festival in Asbury Park last year, 35,000 attendees across the festivals’ two days used a whopping 10.8 TB of data. For context, 10.8TB of data is equal to one person streaming over two million songs for seven and a half years. Virginia Beach is expecting approximately 40,000 visitors around the Oceanfront stage over a three-day event this spring.
“The city is ready and eager to welcome the music festival back, and the collaboration with Verizon will help provide the cameras and other safety equipment needed to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time together at this and other events,” said Dyer.
All cellular and public safety services are scheduled to be fully deployed and operational along the Boardwalk this year.