St. Thomas’ Information Resources and Technology is aiming to enhance students’ digital experiences with two new upgrades to its on-campus technology services.
The first upgrade, an increase in Internet bandwidth, addresses the school’s ability to handle high Internet traffic following a massive spike at the end of fall semester.
The school’s network has been increased to handle a 350-megabits-per-second connection, an increase of 100 megabits from last semester, according to IRT Vice President Sam Levy. The switch was made Jan. 24.
Some students, such as freshman Karah Kregness, said they have noticed the difference.
“So far it’s much better,” said Kregness, who regularly watches Internet movies on her laptop.
Sophomore Joe Docter, who lives off campus but regularly uses the Internet in the library, said he hasn’t had any problems since the switch.
But not everyone has experienced smooth sailing.
“It’s probably worse than last semester,” freshman Josh Prosser said. “Netflix cuts out every five minutes.”
Levy said videos are the biggest cause of Internet traffic spikes, and IRT will continue to watch and plan as the bandwidth upgrade is tested in the first weeks of increased student use.
HD comes to campus
The second digital change on campus is a high-definition lineup in addition to the previous Comcast cable package. The new lineup is the first HD-specific package Comcast has introduced to any university in the nation, according to Levy.
“Comcast was interested because it hadn’t ever done this before,” Levy said. “It was a friendly negotiation.”
The result of the negotiation for students is an HD upgrade free of charge. Levy said the additional cost is about 25 cents per month per student, which Residence Life is able to absorb without increasing student fees.
“That’s nice of them,” freshman Lauren Goodell said.
The school was excited when Comcast approached them about testing its HD model on campus, Levy said.
“It was a joint realization of opportunity,” he said.
Many students have already reprogrammed their TVs and are enjoying the added channels.
“They’re awesome,” freshman Aaron Brown said. “It’s really cool. I just had to reprogram my TV. It was pretty easy.”
Levy said students requiring help reprogramming their TV can contact the Tech Desk at 651-962-6230. A full list of the HD channels can be found here.
Dan Fastner contributed to this report.
Jordan Osterman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.