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Crews Install Technology To Boost Cell Phone Service During Papal Visit

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- For people planning to text, Tweet, and Facebook up a storm during the Pope's visit, the big wireless companies say they've done all they can to try to ensure a strong signal. Whether that will translate to 'bars' on your smartphone remains to be seen.

"There was never a pole here before, so we try to match the Parkway style."

What looks like a green lamppost here between 21st and 22nd and the Parkway is actually a node, says Michael Kane with the wireless infrastructure company Crown Castle.

"You'll be able to get service here easier than others," said Kane.

It's one of 15 new permanent small cells among 37 from the Art Museum to Logan Square. They join what AT&T's Kurt Woehr says are temporary cell sites designed to relieve network congestion in the most crowded papal places.

"We're taking that same multi-beam antenna technology, and we're deploying it to 4th and Arch and 15th and Market to add capacity to Love Park and Independence Hall," said Woehr.

But even when those are gone and the pope crowds hit the road, he says the nearly $50 million combined investment from Verizon and AT&T will mean better service for those of us who are sticking around.

"People will notice the increase in speeds and the reliability," said Woehr.


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