Cell phone users with spotty reception in the Lake Norman area west of Interstate 77 could see far better coverage soon.
Boston-based American Tower Corp. expects to finish installing a signal network from Huntersville through south Iredell by the holidays, company officials said last week. The company owns and operates wireless and broadcast communication sites in various countries.
Areas with notoriously poor reception, including parts of the Peninsula area of Cornelius, will see dramatic improvement, American Tower officials told the Cornelius Board of Commissioners.
The new system can support numerous wireless carriers and accommodate emergency 911 and advanced broadband services, company officials said.
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American Tower has signed AT&T for its local network and expects other carriers to follow.
"AT&T subscribers will see the benefit first as a committed carrier to the network," Steve Smith, an American Tower regional director based in Cary, told the Cornelius commissioners.
American Tower expects to complete its system in Huntersville by Nov. 15 and in Cornelius by year's end. The company is installing similar networks in Charlotte and elsewhere across the state.
The company operates nationwide and in Latin America and India.
In January 2009, the N.C. Utilities Commission designated the company as a public utility in the state.
American Tower works with local government officials, electric companies and residents to locate its wireless reception networks, known as "distributed antennae systems," or DAS.
The company worked with the Peninsula Property Owners Association, for instance, to locate new towers there, including on the Peninsula Club's golf course.
"These folks went out of their way to work with us," Jim Duke, president of the Peninsula Property Owners Association, told the town commissioners. "It was seamless."