I should probably clarify something. "Upgrade" is a somewhat misleading term, as it implies there is an existing celluar distribution system to improve upon. There is no such system. The cell signal available on campus now comes direct from the cell carriers' towers.
So what we're really talking about when we talk about "improving" or "upgrading" cell coverage is creating a brand new network which would have the effect of allowing students to make calls from cell phones in areas where they currently cannot. There are a few ways to do this, and we're looking at all of them right now. There is no "magic bullet" though. Any system we install will cost a substantial amount of money and incurr ongoing maintenance costs. We'll know more about which direction we're headed in a couple months.
To be fair, it also may be possible to get the carriers to build new towers nearby. However, while this seemed like a plausible scenario several years ago when the major carriers were expanding their networks, at this point in this region they've expanded about as much as they are going to. They are more interested in improving the speed and bandwidth of the existing network than in extending it to cover more territory. We will explore this avenue anyway, since it would unquestionably be the cheapest and most direct way to improve cell service, but it's not likely to bear fruit.
Last edited by Ethan G. Marsh : 08-20-2009 at 02:58 PM.