Volume 91, Issue 61

Friday, January 16, 1998

Mr. Rogers


Modem dream remains a nightmare

By Sharon Navarro
Gazette Staff

Many undergraduate students who dial-in to the Internet service provider at Information Technology Services have probably been frustrated with the following statement: "Modem pool undergrad of 150 maximum users has been exceeded."

Currently there are 4,500 undergraduate dial-in accounts registered with ITS, supplying only one modem for every 30 students. "We do not have the capacity to allow dial-in access for the entire community – we just want to provide easy and affordable access to the Internet for students," said ITS operations supervisor Betty Mathers.

But recently, ITS has been bombarded with student complaints about the increased amounts of online traffic. "The [University Students' Council] should sit down with students and determine on-line needs of the students," said ITS senior director Mike Bauer.

However, USC VP-communications James Deans does not believe there is a need to expand the modem pool of 150 undergraduate students and said the supply is meeting the demand.

"Because of the financial issues associated with expanding the modem pool, it has not been a priority right now," Deans said.

The USC has an agreement with ACC Long Distance phone company whereby a portion of each student's phone bill is collected and used for educational technology on campus. Last year, using funds collected with the ACC agreement, the USC purchased a new set of modems for Email Express in an attempt to alleviate some of the on-line backlog.

Email Express is a service free to all undergraduate students and provides online connection to attain email, in addition to a four-hour maximum browse time imposed by ITS.

Currently, the USC covers the cost to buy the systems, while students pay for its maintenance through ITS's hook-up charge. "The university advocates the use of computers to enhance a student's education but we have to pay for it through student fees and a $50 hook-up fee if we want dial-in access," said USC President Ryan Parks.

Undergraduate students upset at their inability to log-on may be further frustrated by misconceptions which suggest Reznet and the graduate students' modem pool are connected to the undergraduate modem system – an idea disputed by ITS consultant team leader Brad McMillan. "Undergraduates do not compete with either of these users for online time because they have a separate modem pool."

Incidently, graduate students, faculty and staff do not have to pay for dial-in access which Parks said he feels is an ironic situation. "Who's in the better financial situation, staff or students?"

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Copyright The Gazette 1998