AT&T customers, rejoice.
The carrier has committed to provide service to the York Hill campus, according to Jim Trella, director of information technology project management. Trella hopes to see the service by the fall semester.
Trella has been working with the major providers to enhance cell service on all three campuses.
“We’ve been advocates to make this happen for the last year-and-a-half,” he said.
Class of 2012 representative Tom Galo’s first initiative in September was getting AT&T service at York Hill.
“When I heard about how there’s no tower here for AT&T, just Verizon, I said OK this is something I want to get,” he said. “Sprint isn’t that good and T-Mobile too, but AT&T is the big one and I’m confident we’re going to get it here.”
SGA acquired about 500 signatures from students all over campus and presented the petition to Trella.
“The shortfall of the SGA was not putting it in an electronic format. They gave me papers,” Trella said. “I can only give that to people I see, which is bad. If it’s electronic I can email blast people at AT&T. I met with AT&T, showed them the paperwork, showed there’s so many signatures on it, so many people complaining. They recognized that.”
Both Trella and Galo are hoping to see AT&T on the York Hill campus by the start of the next school year.
“Right now it’s in the works. It’s getting here,” Galo said. “We’re doing a lot better than we were back in the fall when I first started on this initiative. It’s taken a while but it’s finally hit a point where I’m satisfied, but not fully. I want to see this happen.”
Currently there is AT&T service on the Mount Carmel campus via an external mass on top of Ledges. This floods the signal from the outside in to buildings, while Sprint and Verizon put in an in-building system where they have hundreds of antennas through all the buildings on Mount Carmel, ensuring full coverage no matter where you go inside the building, Trella said.
“The point being, you go into a building and all the partitions are wood and metal and concrete–it’s going to degrade the signal,” he said. “Whereas Sprint or Verizon where those in-building antennas are, you’re just going to get off of the outside antenna into the inside.”
The goal is to talk about an in-building solution with AT&T on the Mount Carmel campus as well so that all three provide more coverage.
Because there are less buildings on York Hill than Mount Carmel, the scale is smaller and therefore should be able to be put together quicker, Trella said.
Junior Stacey Farrell consistently has problems with her AT&T service at York Hill, and is pleased to see they will eventually be resolved.
“I constantly have to leave my phone on a windowsill to receive a text or go outside to make a call,” she said. “I even have family members call the phone in my room to make sure I don’t drop a call, and I have friends who started using texting apps on their iTouches so that they can still have some form of service. I was hoping that what little service I have this year would carry over to my room in Eastview next year, so I’m happy to hear that the problem is going to be resolved.”
Trella said he “hasn’t heard that there are any insurmountable hurdles right now.”
He also noted that because AT&T is designing something and they might take over T-Mobile, then the system they’re putting in place will be able to accommodate T-Mobile users.
“I don’t care how long it takes,” Galo said. “If it takes me to the end of my senior year that’s fine as long as the job gets done, and as of right now it looks like it’s going to be accomplished, and that’s what’s important.”