Vermont - September 13, 2017 -
This fall, students and faculty at the Troy School in North Troy and Twin Valley Middle High School in Whitingham started school a little safer, with access to a new amenity: cell service.
The expanded cell service is thanks to new technology being piloted in the state by a company called CoverageCo. In partnership with the state of Vermont, CoverageCo installs and maintains microcell devices, called “radios,” on poles or buildings that use very little energy and provide cell service in a half mile radius. The radios work with Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint customers, though AT&T has decided not to participate.
Increased safety due to 911 access has been the most heralded benefit of the expanded service. Chris Young, Principal at the Troy School, said, "Student safety is paramount, and we are fortunate to have skilled and dedicated first responders in our immediate area. Having access to 911 through cell phones will enhance our ability access these services and to provide a safe school environment for our students, staff, and community."
Tom Fitzgerald, principal at Twin Valley Middle High School, noted that the new service allowed them to upgrade their emergency plan since they can now better communicate from outside the school. And, he continued, ride logistics between parents and students are easier as well. “
We are always concerned about students arriving back at school late from an event, getting off a bus and contacting parents for a ride. Cell service makes this much easier for everyone.”
CoverageCo founder Vanu Bose said, “Deploying cell service in Vermont has been a real community effort, and working with schools, libraries, businesses and homeowners in the state to increase coverage has been a great experience. And when student safety is involved like in North Troy and Whitingham, successful cell service expansions are all the more rewarding.”
Since launching their pilot project with the State of Vermont and the EDA in 2012, CoverageCo has installed over 150 radios, providing over 375 square miles of service where there was none before. Last year alone, CoverageCo’s radios enabled almost 1000 completed calls to 911. CoverageCo is continuing deployment of its network to communities around the state this year. More information and a map of areas covered can be found at