Volume 92, Issue 21

Thursday, October 8, 1998

far out


Dial-in could go out

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

Students wanting to surf the net at home may want to consider signing up with an internet service provider other than Information Technology Services.

ITS and the University Students' Council met at the end of September to address students' concerns about the service provided by ITS, said Ian Armour, USC president.

ITS has since begun looking at alternative options for providing dial-in internet service for students.

"The internet service is becoming a really difficult thing to manage which has led people to question whether the university should be providing this at all," said Denis Regnier, technical support manager for ITS.

ITS wants to ensure it is offering students the best price it can for the service, Regnier said. Although searching for an outside service provider is not a top priority, ITS will begin looking at what other companies can offer later this fall, he added.

One of the problems preventing ITS from expanding its modem pool is the cost of the modems, Regnier said. The cost of the modems used by ITS range between $1,000 and $2,000. "It's a much more complex modem than the ones at home."

Armour said students have to realize this service is not meant for heavy use or for business purposes. "This is not a hardcore usage device."

The current ratio of students to modems is 30 to one, Armour said. "Even if we spent $100,000 on the modem pool, the ratio would sill be 18 to one – I don't think any student wants us to spend that money in this way."

USC engineering representative Craig Smith, who was part of the ITS-USC committee, agreed with Armour. "I don't think Western can maintain the modem pool that much longer."

Smith added, if the service is subcontracted to a company outside of Western, then ITS does not have to invest as much into the system as they are now.

ITS set out to provide a basic, cheap modem service for as many students as possible, said Regnier. "Obviously this is not going to be a Cadillac service but if you look at what the intent was and what was accomplished, then we are providing a good service."

Regnier added he was not sure how a partnership with another ISP would work but ITS would try to work out a special deal with a company so students could continue to use their Western email addresses and ITS would still collect the money for the service.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998