The Maryland Stadium Authority has taken a step toward adding Wi-Fi at Camden Yards — one of the last major league stadiums without public Internet service.
The authority said Friday that its board of directors approved a letter of intent to begin a 90-day negotiation with Verizon to add Wi-Fi and a distributed antenna system, known as DAS, that enhances wireless reception.
The authority already has an agreement with Verizon to provide DAS at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens. The Ravens have a separate arrangement with Verizon to provide Wi-Fi for its fans.
Adding Camden Yards would mean amending the existing Verizon deal.
The stadium authority said it was too soon to say when Wi-Fi might be available at Camden Yards.
In response to questions about the negotiation, the authority released a statement saying that it and the Orioles are partnering with Verizon. "We are working to fully deploy a far more robust system to enhance our fan experience and offer greater connectivity so our patrons can enjoy live events while engaging with social media and digital content," the authority said.
Wi-Fi would be free to fans. The installation is expected to be paid for by Verizon.
Complaints about the lack of Wi-Fi have plagued Camden Yards. Without Wi-Fi, fans say, their cellular networks often become overtaxed and slow down because too many people are using them in the same place.
In most other big-league stadiums, Wi-Fi has become as much of a staple as the seventh-inning stretch as the sport reaches out to younger fans for whom posting messages and photos is part of the stadium experience.
In 2012, Major League Baseball formed a consortium with its technology partners to help the sport with its Wi-Fi and other high-tech communication services at stadiums around the country.
Participation by the clubs was optional, but about 20 signed up — two-thirds of the American and National leagues — and most of the rest have secured deals in recent years to get Wi-Fi on their own.
In response to inquiries earlier this year, the Orioles did not explain why the club didn’t join the consortium but indicated it would address the lack of Wi-Fi.
An Orioles spokesman said it would be premature to comment on the stadium authority's action, which came at its board meeting Thursday.