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March 2, 2009 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Free internet ctrl–alt–deleted

Recent changes in the way internet and computer services are provided at Victoria will offer students a far greater array of computing services, but it has come at a price.

From this year, all enrolled students will find a computer services fee of $20 tacked onto their usual compulsory fees and levies. The extra charge is designed to cover the cost of providing internet and wireless services at Victoria’s campuses, but does not, however, cover the cost of printing.

Victoria Information Technology Services (ITS) Director Stuart Haselden said the decision to start charging after a year of providing free and unlimited internet was born out of the excesses of a tiny minority.

“It’s quite clear in the statutes that the internet is to be used for university related things. We were getting some people abusing it,” Haselden said.

The kind of abuse Haselden notes as particularly draining on bandwidth resources were streaming sites like YouTube.

“I don’t have a problem with people using YouTube; it’s just the content that some people were viewing. People are using an amount of bandwidth you’d use in a month on your home plan, and they’re doing it in a day,” he said.

In light of this, ITS has introduced an acceptable use policy which is designed to curb the tide of vanishing bandwidth. The policy includes rules defining “excessive use” and the possible consequences for those who are caught abusing the system.

“We’ve done quite a bit of work over the break,” said Haselden.

“We’ve got a new monitoring system now which can get [data usage] down to very small details.”

However, Haselden was reluctant to introduce a data cap.

“By bringing in a data cap, you take away from what we’re trying to achieve, which is to have access for all students,”

“We do have some [data cap] equipment that we’re testing, and that comes at a cost. I’d prefer not to do that and hope students were reasonable,” he said.

Introducing free printing was a much publicised feature of 2008 VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove’s election campaign, but Haselden noted that this was unrealistic.

“The first issue is that we get charged per page by the vendor—the person who supplies the printers. The second issue is you have some students who print a lot, and some who don’t print at all,” he said.

“There is a cost. You’ve got to pay for paper, toner, printers, and the support.”

Furthermore, with the recent move to Microsoft Exchange Labs, students will now be able to utilise blogging, webspace, file storage, and MSN Messenger facilities from their MyVictoria portal.

The changes will be in effect from the first trimester onwards.


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Comments (4)

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  1. Superior Mind says:

    Using a month’s allowance in a day? That says more about New Zealand’s crappy Internet Service Providers than it does about the average YouTube-drifter’s surfing habits.

  2. Boner says:

    Yes. Our country’s internet sucks.
    I wouldn’t be suprised if the download speeds on campus are 8Mbit or less.

  3. derekguy says:

    The university is most likely connected via a fibre link of some sort which isn’t charged by data usage but rather by bandwidth size. They have to buy a certain amount of pipe anyway; what does it matter if the students use it?

  4. carbonista says:

    Victoria Information Technology Services (ITS) Director Stuart Haselden said the decision to start charging after a year of providing free and unlimited internet was born out of the excesses of a tiny minority.

    WTF!? I had to pay for my internet usage at Vic last year.

    I want my money back.

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