When 3,364 telephones were pulled from the residence halls last summer, Notre Dame took a decided leap into the cellular age—responding to the rapidly changing communications and entertainment needs of a new generation of students.
With nine out of 10 college students carrying cell phones today, Bill Kirk ('84, JD '91), associate vice president for residence life, said that it was becoming apparent that “nobody would answer their room telephones.”
When the opportunity came up to provide digital cable television and wireless Internet service in the dorms for about the same cost as the students have been paying for landline telephone service, administrators decided the future was now.
During the past few months, the residence halls and administrative buildings on campus have been rewired with more than 3.5 million feet of cable and 500 wireless access points, said Dewitt Latimer, chief technology officer and deputy chief information officer at Notre Dame.
Moreover, to address the “dismal cell phone coverage on campus,” the University is deploying a distributed cellular antenna system comprised of 16 small cellular antennas tucked stealthily on building facades, light poles and inside the stadium and Joyce Center .
While Latimer believes this investment in the communications infrastructure will take Notre Dame well into the future, he foresees an ongoing evolution in communications on campus. “Text messaging (to cell phones) is the communications choice of students,” he said. “In the coming year, we'll be looking at how to get campus announcements sent out to thousands of individual (cell) phones.”