Cellular capacity increased

Verizon says more will be done


— A spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless in Denver said Tuesday her company recently expanded the carrying capacity of its cell phone tower on Storm Peak. The company also is working to install a second antenna at Colorado Mountain College that should meet the existing demand for Verizon's cell phone service here.

Verizon customers have been frustrated by spotty service from the company.

The new analog antenna, which will allow expansion for additional future capacity, should be complete and in service before the end of June, said Debra Havins. She added that Verizon has the approval of the city of Steamboat Springs to go forward with the antenna.

"We increased capacity on the Storm Mountain site by about one-third," Havins said. "We had been experiencing very heavy blocking."

Although that increase in capacity has reduced some of the interruptions in cell service, she said Verizon realizes it needs to do more.

"We're still not where we're proud to claim it," Havins said.

The new equipment at CMC will still be analog, not digital, Havins confirmed. She said it will not double the existing capacity, but "it will have enough channels there to carry all the traffic during the busy hours."

Havins said when it originally acquired CommNet, then Air Touch, it made a "huge, huge commitment to becoming the leader in network communications" and has dedicated $4 billion toward upgrading its equipment nationwide.

"Lots of our rural networks need some attention and Steamboat is certainly growing," Havins said.

The new equipment at CMC will include a 12-by-20 shed built to resemble other maintenance sheds on the campus.

Verizon also will build four

4-foot antennae on the side of Bogue Hall, painted to blend in with the building. The plan is to attach them under the eaves of the roof line so they won't be discernible from a distance.


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