04/12/2011 04:03 pm ET Updated Jun 12, 2011

AT&T Set To Expand Chicago Network, Despite New FCC Rules

Anyone who tried to navigate Lollapalooza last summer with an iPhone knows that AT&T doesn't exactly blanket the Chicago area with coverage. Although a battery of tests shows that it fares somewhat better than Verizon downtown, users complain about weak service in neighborhoods around the city.

With that in mind, the telecom giant is bringing added sites and support to its Chicago-area network, in the hopes of improving its signal in the city.

According to a press release, AT&T will install more than 35 new cell sites around Chicago, and will overhaul another roughly 500 more to provide 4G speeds to Chicagoland.

The announcement follows last year's passage of legislation easing restrictions on the state's telecommunication industry, which Governor Pat Quinn predicted would result in further investment. It also comes on the heels of an FCC ruling requiring big telcos to share their wireless networks with smaller carriers, at reasonable rates.

AT&T protested the new rule, arguing that it would have less incentive to bolster its networks if it had to share them with the little guys. Fortunately for customers in Chicago, it doesn't appear to have slowed them down in this market.