AT&T uses outdoor DAS and fiber to blanket Colorado ski resort with cell coverage

WINTER PARK, CO.--AT&T (NYSE: T) outfitted a Colorado ski resort with an outdoor distributed antenna system (DAS) using 26 antennas and four miles of fiber-optic cable slung through chairlift cables to provide skiers with better coverage and improved capacity.

Like many Colorado ski areas this winter, the Winter Park Ski Resort, which is located about 70 miles west of Denver, has been host to a large number of skiers this season thanks to above-average snowfall. During the recent Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, the resort said more than 16,000 skiers descended on the ski area.

AT&T said that during the recent week between Christmas 2015 and New Year's Day 2016, the company handled more than 5,000 phone calls on the newly deployed DAS system and transmitted about 200 gigabytes of data.

The outdoor DAS system, which cost AT&T an estimate $2.5 million to deploy, is in four locations throughout the Winter Park ski area including the Mary Jane Base Lodge, the Lunch Rock building (located at the top of the mountain), the Vintage Hotel (at the entrance to the ski area) and at the main village. The DAS system is used to provide supplemental coverage to AT&T's existing two macro towers that are located at the resort. The DAS system, according to AT&T, has the capacity equivalent of two macro sites.

According to JJ Henrikson, senior real estate and construction manager for AT&T, construction on the outdoor DAS system started in June 2015 and took approximately six months to complete. The DAS provides LTE coverage on 700 MHz spectrum, 1900 MHz spectrum and also UMTS on 850 MHz spectrum.

Fiber-optic cable is strung up the middle of the chairlift from Mary Jane Base Lodge to Lunch Rock at the top of mountain. That cable, which is owned by the Winter Park Resort, is used to carry traffic from the DAS to the headend. CenturyLink provides the fiber backhaul from Winter Park back to Denver.

Local installation firm Mountain Wireless Contractors handled the DAS installation at Winter Park. The Denver-based company provides install services for all the major operators.

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