Western and Bell announce deal to improve campus cellular capacity and coverage

Western University and Bell Canada announced today a significant investment by the Canada’s largest telecommunications company to improve cellular capacity and coverage across campus.

According to the deal, Bell has committed $3 million over the next three years to operating a distributed antenna system. Bell will also deliver cellular signal onto the Western campus via fibre-optic cable. That signal will then be distributed to buildings with capacity/coverage issues as well as heavy-trafficked outside spaces.

“We are beyond excited,” says Mona Brennan-Coles, Telecommunications Business Solutions Manager with Western’s Information Technology Services (ITS). “It has been a really positive two-year process. This has been an excellent partnership internally and externally.”

The increased coverage and capacity means Western will have a stronger, more dependable signal for Bell and, in turn, Telus customers, who partner with the Bell network. Bell expects the benefits should be immediate for their customers.

Phase 1 of the project was completed this month. In-building systems have been installed in the University Community Centre (UCC) and Western Student Services Buildings. A macro site is being installed on the roof of the D.B. Weldon Library to provide increased capacity and coverage to the Concrete Beach and surrounding areas.

Western listened to comments from users, says Brennan-Coles, and focused the initial phase on high-traffic student areas. The fix also eases the burden on the off-campus network, as Western on-campus users will no longer be competing for signal.

Brennan-Coles says Bell is leading the project to design and build a system that will work with other major Canadian operators. Western has worked with Bell to ensure campus infrastructure supports the Bell and Telus customers who will see increased coverage.