Verizon improves cell phone coverage on College Hill

Monday, January 26, 2009

Can you hear me now?

For Brown students with Verizon Wireless cell phone service returning from winter break, the answer is now more likely to be yes.

The activation of a new “cell site” – a transmitter for wireless data – on College Hill is responsible for the change, said David Thomson, a spokesperson for Verizon.

In addition to better reception, Verizon users should now enjoy faster internet service on their phones and experience fewer dropped calls, Thomson said.

The new cell site was activated Jan. 2 and is located in the steeple of a church on Angell Street, Thomson said. (He said he was unsure of the name of the church.) The transmitting radios, which have an operating radius of two miles, are approximately the size of a toaster. The recent activation at Brown is part of a wider Verizon campaign to add cell sites nationwide.

Students have already noticed a significant change on the northern side of campus, where many said Verizon service had previously been spotty.

The change was obvious “as soon as I got back to campus,” said Eric Lewin ’12, a Champlin resident. Last semester, he said, he had little to no reception in his room, but he now has service throughout the building.

“The quality of the calls themselves has also improved,” Lewin added. “Not just in terms of fewer dropped calls, but also less static.”

Jessica Faiz ’12, another Champlin resident, said that Verizon service was “so bad” that she was “contemplating switching” her provider to AT&T after her first semester. But the price difference was too great to justify the change, she said, and when she returned last week she was happy to find a “pleasant surprise – the (Verizon) service was good.”

“I can have conversations without the calls dropping anymore, and I can send text messages with no problem pretty much anywhere in the dorm, and I was not able to do that before at all,” Faiz continued. “I’m just really, really happy.”

But not everyone noticed a change. Julia Duch ’12, a Keeney resident, said that there was “no difference” in her Verizon service.

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