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More bars in more places

Sarah Mervosh | Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For Dan Manier, who works in the newly constructed Eck Hall of Law, the slogan ‘more bars in more places’ finally holds true.

“Just sitting at my desk, in the past I was receiving anywhere from zero, one or at most, two bars of service. Now, I get almost always four if not five bars,” Manier, who is the director of Law School Information Technology, said.

Manier is one of many AT&T users who is benefiting from two new transmitters that have been installed to serve the Eck Hall of Law and Duncan Hall directly, chief technology officer Dewitt Latimer said.

Prior to the installation, service in those buildings was “hit or miss,” Latimer said.

In the law building, service depended on “whether you had a room or an office with a window in it or what side of the building you were on,” he said.

AT&T saw that signal was weak in those two buildings and received feedback that there was room for improvement. The company consequently added the transmitters late this summer, Brian Ducharme, vice president general manager for AT&T Consumer Markets and Mobility in Indiana, said.

“We’ve been very committed to working with everyone at the University to improve the customer experience there on campus,” he said. “This year we added a couple more sites to improve some areas.”

Ducharme said there should be a clear improvement for AT&T customers in those buildings.

“I think the two biggest noticeable benefits in these areas now will be a strengthened voice quality and improved coverage, particularly in the building,” he said. “And then, of course, customers will experience much improved data speeds.”

Manier said he has seen a definite improvement in the service in the law building.

“As far as the coverage that we’re experiencing in the building, it’s definitely better,” Manier said. “That doesn’t mean that we don’t have times when calls are cut off. It does happen, but in general, our coverage is much improved.”

Latimer said reactions from people in Duncan Hall and the Law Building have been positive.

“Folks in the Law School are ecstatic,” he said. “Reports I get back from students in Duncan Hall is that all except for one corner of the building are getting the acceptable coverage and the one corner is the corner that is facing inward towards McGlinn. That’s a very difficult corner to cover.”

Prior to the new transmitter, Manier said AT&T had worse coverage than Verizon Wireless in the Eck Hall of Law, but now, AT&T outperforms its competitor.

“Before, where we had just really awful AT&T service, Verizon was maybe not as awful but still in that category. It’s just not reliable,” he said. “[Verizon service] is not as good now as the AT&T service.”

Manier said he hopes that Verizon will decide to improve coverage in the area now that AT&T has done so.

“Often that’s what happens when you’ve got two primary vendors in a situation like this. If one does it the other tries to follow suit so they don’t lose business,” he said.

Latimer said Verizon and AT&T are the only companies who have chosen to put transmitters on campus, so their service is much better than companies like Sprint and T-Mobile, who do not have transmitters on campus.

“We are always in open conversations with [other cellular companies.] We would love to have them on campus. It’s just up to them to make that decision,” he said.

“And what we’ve always told the students is if the they are unhappy with their cellular coverage on campus then they need to call their cell phone company and complain,” Latimer said.