Better Wi-Fi sought for stadium, convention center

Improved Wi-Fi service should be available at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center by the end of the year, and in time for Indianapolis’ hosting of the 2012 Super Bowl in February.

The Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, which operates the two facilities, on Tuesday posted a request for proposals to upgrade the service.

In addition to better Wi-Fi, the RFP calls for the installation of a distributed antenna system at the convention center and improving the existing DAS at the stadium. DAS is a network of antenna nodes that provides the wireless service within a specific area or structure.

Proposals will be received until June 10, and all systems at both the stadium and convention center should be fully operational by Nov. 15, the RFP said.

“If you look at the calendar, you’ll know why we’re doing this,” said CIB Executive Director Barney Levengood, referring to Super Bowl XLVI, scheduled for Feb. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Both the stadium and convention center are equipped with Wi-Fi, but the improvements would provide for quicker and more easily accessible service.

For the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, which markets the city to meeting planners, the benefits of the upgrades extend beyond the Super Bowl.

“It’s a selling factor,” ICVA spokesman Chris Gahl said. “From our perspective, anything that we can do collectively as a destination to stay competitive or gain a competitive edge is a positive.”

CIB is considering a five-year contract for the providers of the Wi-Fi service with the option for an additional five-year extension.

Selected providers will pay a licensing fee to the CIB, which generates revenue from the agreements.

CIB has existing DAS agreements with AT&T, Sprint and Verizon at Lucas Oil Stadium, and a contract with Las Vegas-based Smart City Holdings LLC to provide and manage Internet and data services at both the stadium and convention center.

AT&T and Verizon, for instance, currently pay CIB an annual license fee of about $80,000, according to their current contracts.

Smart City pays CIB a percentage of revenue it generates from providing Wi-Fi at both the stadium and convention center. CIB can earn as much as $88,500 annually if Smart City generates $405,000 in revenue, according to the current contract.

 

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