The familiar complaint of dropped cell phone calls in Burleith and Darnall Hall will be eased next summer when a Verizon cell phone tower will be installed on the roof of Leavey Center.
The university is currently in the process of obtaining a construction permit from the D.C. municipal government to begin construction of the tower, which is expected to be completed by July 2014. The tower will consist of a set of antennae that are four feet high.
“Verizon Wireless is working with Georgetown University to expand our 4G LTE network coverage on campus to provide students, faculty, medical center staff and patients, as well as the greater Georgetown community, with the best possible wireless coverage,” Verizon spokesperson Melanie Ortel wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Verizon Wireless will pay the cost of installing the antennas and will also pay Georgetown for the use of university property.
“Having these antennas at Georgetown is a total win for the Georgetown community,” Chief Information Officer Lisa Davis said.
The construction of the tower is intended to alleviate the poor signal many Verizon customers receive on campus. According to Davis, the Verizon signal is the weakest of all mobile carriers at Georgetown.
“In some places it’s fine, [but] in general, the service is pretty bad,” Kelli Foy (SFS ’16) said.
Talks between Verizon and the university have been going on for several years. Davis said she prioritized this project when she became chief information officer in January 2012.
“So many of us have Verizon as a vendor,” Davis said. “Any opportunity to increase coverage with any of the vendors is a welcome opportunity.”
There are no plans, however, to install cell towers for other mobile service providers.
“There really hasn’t been a need or requirement from the AT&T or Sprint perspective,” Davis said.
The university will receive $22,000 in revenue and spend no money to complete this project. The surrounding neighbors will also receive a noticeable increase in mobile coverage.
The Verizon tower is part of University Information Services’ five-year modernization plan to increase the university’s capacity for mobile devices, which has focused on Wi-Fi, virtual computing and network connection upgrades since its early 2013 launch.
The network connection upgrade will increase the university’s data transmission capacity by 1,000 percent, and the private cloud upgrade will save the university $700,000.