By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cell phone companies are busy beefing up service for the pope’s visit to Philadelphia.READ MORE: Philadelphia Mother Pleading To Find Driver Who Struck Son In Hit-And-Run, 'Guardian Angel' Who Found Him
AT&T and Verizon together have invested $45-million to add cell-service infrastructure along the Ben Franklin Parkway. Each says the upgrades will quadruple capacity. AT&T spokeswoman Brandy Bell-Truskey says they’re bringing in temporary cell towers called COWS.
“COWS are Cells on Wheels,” she says. “And these are basically portable cell sites that handle spikes in traffic from portable smart phone users.”READ MORE: Philadelphia's Evil Genius Beer Company Giving Out Free Beers To Those Getting Vaccinated In May
The companies are also adding permanent capacity through what is called a Distributed Antenna System along the Parkway.
“The permanent cell sites, the additional capacity, the small cells, the distributed antenna system, that is all permanent infrastructure that’s going to remain in place after the Pope’s visit,” says Verizon Wireless spokesman John O’Malley.MORE NEWS: Friday Night In New Jersey Looks Like Something Out Of 2019 As Restrictions Eased
The companies say they studied cell usage during large events, including the Fourth of July concert and New Year’s Eve on Times Square, to plan for the papal visit.