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July 27, 2012

News

Project improves coverage for McCoy cell phone users

The inclusion of AT&T service on a permanent tower at Fort McCoy is providing improved coverage for cell phone users.

Jon Prell, Telecommunications specialist for the Network Enterprise Center at Fort McCoy, said the service equipment on the permanent tower is higher than it was on the temporary tower it replaced, so the coverage area should increase.

The AT&T addition also means the installation has presence on its permanent towers for all the major cell phone carriers — US Cellular, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile.

“The services on these permanent towers meet the cellular phone communication needs of Fort McCoy,” Prell said. “The increased cell phone services give Soldiers, Fort McCoy personnel and contractors an improved avenue to conduct official business as well as send and receive calls from home and connect with their Families.”

Prell said the last service provider upgrade occurred in 2006-07, when Nextel and Cingular cellular towers were installed. Companies have upgraded their service equipment since then, but this is the first new, permanent-service equipment added since that time, he added.

Fort McCoy relies on private companies to install service equipment on the towers. Prell said the government leases the land for the towers and related equipment to the companies. In return, the installation is given space on the towers to support its communication’s needs. The arrangement also saves the government the costs of constructing and maintaining the towers.

Prell noted that although the new AT&T service equipment on the permanent tower will improve the cell phone coverage area, Fort McCoy’s service still will be subject to dead spots because of hills or valleys.

“Cell phone service is provided by line-of-sight towers and then interconnected by landline service trunks and other cell towers. Customers at Fort McCoy and those calling in still will be subject to the same communication factors that anyone using cell phones faces,” he said. “They may experience poor or non-existent service in some locations.”

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