Students aren’t the only ones learning at schools across Mississippi these days. Behind the scenes, C Spire engineers monitoring the wireless network in real time have noticed usage demands increase at cell sites near school campuses around the state.
Alan Jones, who oversees the vast C Spire wireless network as chief network officer, says that where and how customers use their wireless devices directly impact how engineers manage traffic, and ensuring a positive customer experience at schools is a high priority.
“We constantly look at data from our network, as well as other sources, to see how we can make adjustments or where we may need additional coverage or capacity to complement what we have today,” Jones says.
One of the areas of greatest need, our network engineers have discovered, are schools. In Mississippi, where nearly 90 percent of students attending public schools have access to issued laptops or tablets—not to mention the personal devices many of them carry—keeping our wireless network humming is helping thousands of students cross the digital divide to high-speed mobile access.
As part of our three-year, $1 billion investment in wireless and fiber infrastructure across our footprint, we have prioritized adding new sites as well as enhancing equipment at existing sites near schools.
“We’ve really ramped up adding small cells and enhancements near schools because so many of our customers are impacted positively with these changes,” Jones says. “Moms and dads in the student pickup line need to stay connected for remote work, and many watch videos or scroll through social media to pass time while waiting. Coverage in school is more important than ever as many students and educators utilize our devices for emergencies while around the schools.”
But C Spire’s networks are always improving, even when installation teams aren’t physically adding cells. Thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, our networks constantly monitor usage trends and redistribute traffic for the best efficiency and customer experience.
“We utilize multiple tools to overcome these challenges to help manage such complex networks,” explains Craig Jackson, general manager of wireless networks at C Spire. “In addition, our customer touch points continue to collaborate with the network team in order to create customer-focused solutions that make our network the best in our footprint.”
By arming our creative and informed team members with the best automated technologies, C Spire is solving network challenges before they impact service, while eyeing usage trends to determine where to deploy enhancements next.
“Our wireless network, as well as how our customers use it, is always evolving,” says Jones. “Our customers’ needs change, and it is important for us to make sure we improve our network for them.”