Despite Bandwidth Upgrade’s Steep Costs, Student Technology Fees Will Remain at Normal Rate

Yonathan Ararso ’13

On Oct 23, 2012 H-SC signed a new three year contact with CenturyLink upgrading the College’s commercial internet service bandwidth 10 times from 100Mbs to 1Gbs.

“We decided to make the jump right now to 1Gbs since the usage will continue to go up,” says Glenn Culley, Vice President for Business Affairs & Finance. “Implementation should take no more than 30 business days [after the contract is signed], and the engineers have been working and progressing.” 

The bidding process took place during mid-October between the local telecommunication companies Shentel and CenturyLink. The College chose to stay with its current provider CenturyLink. Headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana, CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the U.S. following AT&T and Verizon.  

 “CenturyLink has the infrastructure already [in place], so they just had to send their technicians over to expand it,” says Culley. Choosing Shentel would have also resulted in the company burying four miles of fiber to get to campus. According to Culley, such an extensive project could have taken up to 90 days.  “CenturyLink was a lot easier and a lot quicker,” he adds. “Plus, they had a more competitive offer.” 

The slowdown experienced throughout campus during the first part of the semester was met with severe frustration from both students and professors. The issue was immediately brought to the attention of the administration, and a senate committee was formed by student government. “We formed the Technology Committee in response to outcry from current students regarding the slow bandwidth on campus—this is sort of normal protocol for major issues on campus and within the Student Senate’s abilities,” says Senator Ben Durham ’12.

Due to recent developments, students have already noticed change in internet speed. “There is a huge difference,” says Paris Wood ‘13.  “I can now listen to Pandora without the songs freezing up or watch an entire YouTube video. I actually feel like I am getting my money’s worth. I am impressed that they pulled though so quickly.”

“Honestly, the administration was great in working with us on this matter,” Durham adds. “We were able to personally communicate with everyone we needed to, and they responded promptly.”

To the question of where the money to cover the costs will come from, Culley remarked: “The upgrade is going to double what we are spending now. We were able to afford it because we had set aside some funds for technology enhancements. And the President had a restricted discretionary fund which will help cover some of the costs.”

In response to how the school will continue to cover the cost, the Vice President added: “We have to get it into the operating budget somehow. The technology fee will continue to go up and stay growing from 3-5%—its normal rate. And we will continue to track this through the next three years.”

The Senate Committee continues to work on issues dealing with necessary technology upgrades on campus. “[Currently, we] are focusing efforts on migrating from the current e-mail server, IPswitch to something with more capabilities and functionality such as e-mail filtering, document sharing, messaging, and calendars,” comments Chairman of Student Senate Frederick Antoine ’12.

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