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Better Cell Service Coming For CLT Passengers

Charlotte's airport director plans to ask the city council tonight for money to make life a little easier for the 38 million travelers who pass through the terminal each year using cell phones. All the major wireless companies have cell towers at the airport, but Charlotte Airport Director Jerry Orr says service in the passenger terminal is deteriorating. "The building has become so large and with so much electronic clutter that there are areas in the building where the reception is very poor," said Orr at a meeting of the Airport Advisory Committee earlier this month. "Of course, the cell companies are very competitive and don't like for their customers to get dropped." Tonight, Orr will ask the Charlotte City Council for $1.3 million to install a system of little antennas throughout the ceiling of the terminal building. The antennas will collect cell signals and transmit them to nearby carrier towers, making for consistent cell service from every corner of the terminal. A neutral company called Wireless Services will operate the Distributed Antenna System and wireless carriers will have to pay to be part of it. Orr says those fees will eventually reimburse the city for the $1 million dollars it'll cost up front to design and install the system.