Monday 5 December 2016

Glastonbury revellers can hedge their bets on WiFi

Published 20/06/2016 | 00:11

The hi-tech topiary resembles the Pyramid Stage
The hi-tech topiary resembles the Pyramid Stage

Revellers at this year's Glastonbury Festival should have no problem sharing photos and video on social media thanks to WiFi-enabled hedges being placed on the Somerset site.

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Mobile operator EE is the official partner of the festival and has created themed hedges - shaped like some of the festival's main stages - to boost signal coverage for those on the site. In the past the telecoms firm has used tractors and plastic cows as the centre pieces of their hotspots.

This year, EE says it expects around 15 terabytes of data to be sent from Glastonbury - the equivalent of three million songs by Saturday night headliner Adele - and as a result the firm will triple the capacity of its temporary network in order to support the phone calls, messages and social media posts made by the more than 130,000 people on-site.

Matt Stagg, EE's head of video and content said: "Every year, social media feeds all over the world are flooded with images and videos of Glastonbury Festival.

"We build a network to handle all those images and massive video files so that customers get a great mobile experience. Those attending have been looking forward to this event all year, and expect to be able to share their festival experience on social media so it's crucial that the EE network on site stays ahead of the huge demand."

The WiFi hotspots have been cut into the shape of the Pyramid stage, on which Adele and fellow headliners Muse and Coldplay will perform on each of the festival's three nights, as well as dance area Arcadia, whose stage is a giant metal spider made from recycled materials.

"We also provide charging so that customers can actually keep using their phones throughout the festival with double capacity in our Recharge tent, and the Juice Tube Power Bank - new for 2016 - which is a portable mobile charger festival-goers can purchase in advance and then swap on site for a fully charged one at the EE Exchange cabins when they run out of juice, " added Mr Stagg.

The technology firm also runs the festival's official app - which features a live on-site map and line-up information and was opened more than three million times during the festival last year, according to EE.

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