• 73°

Stacking Up Coverage

Brookhavenites will be delighted to know a major cellularcarrier is installing new GSM (Global System for MobileCommunications) components in the area, as well as improvedUniversal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) antennas thatshould enhance smart phones’ third-generation capabilities.

In other words, AT&T cell phone service will get better and3G coverage will increase.

Installation of the new technology has been going on in the skynorth of downtown Brookhaven since Monday, where two giant yellowcranes have been conspicuously crossed above the oldsmokestack.

The cranes, operated by Dynamic Tower Services, Inc., ofCarencro, La., are hoisting men and materials 185 feet to thestack’s apex, where the new electronics are being installed – withrespect to the stack’s historical significance.

“We’re putting up three Powerwave antennas,” said projectmanager Ronnie Gonzalez. “It’s going to provide way better service,more coverage.”

Project supervisor Kevin Forestier said the new 3G technologywould allow smart phones to send and receive more data at a fasterrate, while improved second-generation technology would benefitmore basic coverage.

The installation should be complete by the end of the week, butmuch more work remains on the site before it’s activated.

“It may take a couple of weeks to turn it up, but once it getsturned up, you will have more 3G coverage,” Forestier said.

Sue Sperry, an AT&T spokesperson, said the company hopes tohave the new equipment powered up and serving Brookhaven byChristmas.

“Once they get the site built and get those antennas up, thenthere are electronics to install and they have to run a T-1(high-speed data) line,” she said, adding the site will have to betested before it’s officially brought online. “It’s a lengthyprocess, but we certainly expect it to be completed this year.”

Sperry said the Brookhaven installation is part of a $17billion, nationwide effort by AT&T to improve services.

“They just look at where they’ve got some coverage gaps,especially downtown where there’s building coverage,” she said.”It’s also especially important along the interstate and the majorhighways to have continuous coverage. Along Interstate 55, thereare some sports where we needed more coverage.”