Business

Cary firm to provide Wi-Fi at Super Bowl

Posted January 26, 2010 4:24 p.m. EST
Updated January 26, 2010 6:51 p.m. EST

— Founded less than a year ago, Cary-based Signal Share will provide a wireless Internet connection to the crowds attending Super Bowl XLIV in Miami next month.

Partners Allen Cook and Joe Costanzo met last summer while trying to set up a wireless Internet system at a Toronto music festival. Although the festival was canceled, the pair forged ahead with an idea to bring free, ad-supported Wi-Fi to public events and formed Signal Share.

The company debuted at September's NFL Kickoff in Pittsburgh, and it also provided Wi-Fi access at two North Carolina State University football games and the U2 concert at Carter-Finley Stadium last fall.

Tailgaters took notice, Costanzo said.

"You can stream videos (and) stream music. All those things are now available from the back of your car," he said.

With a few Wi-Fi transmitters, Signal Share will allow the tens of thousands of people at the Super Bowl who have laptops or smart phones to get online more easily. Putting all that Internet traffic on a separate network also means cell phones will work better in the big crowd, the partners said.

The Signal Share system also will let sponsors get a close look at what fans want from the Web, he said.

In a world where everyone's looking for a Wi-Fi hot spot, Cook said the company offers a valuable service.

"We can typically offer speeds much better than a 3G network at its best, which makes for a better user experience," he said.

With several successful events under their belt, the partners say business is taking off. They plan to bring their service to more Atlantic Coast Conference football games next fall.

"(We'll do) big events, big concerts. If there's over 30,000 people, expect to start seeing Signal Share," Costanzo said.