Students pay for excessive Internet use

Lynne Kozarek

The University expects to gain $20,000 in user fees from its first month of charging for Internet modem access.
Under the new rules, people who dial into the University network from home are allowed 30 free hours but are charged for any additional time spent logged in. Each additional 30- hour block costs $4.
The policy was announced by Networking and Tele-communications Services in October and took effect last month.
In October and November, the University sent e-mail memos to 4,500 faculty members and students stating that they would be charged. At the end of January, 2,244 bills were sent out over e-mail.
Shih-Pau Yen, director of academic and distributive computing services, said the University is charging students the approximate cost of using the modems for Internet access.
“The University spends approximately $1.6 million on just modems alone,” Yen said. “The fee was decided on cost only.”
Louis Hammond, telecommunications operations manager in the Networking and Tele-communication Services department, said the policy was implemented to trim some Internet use.
Yen said the University provides free Internet access as a tool for learning and research, and the policy was put in place to discourage people from abusing the resource.
“There are people that are supposed to be there (on the Internet), and we are here to make sure they can be there,” Yen said.
According to Hammond, the University was spending $59,000 per month in U.S. West charges before the policy was implemented. This bill could go down as a result of decreased modem use.
“The real savings is the slowing of the resource usage,” Hammond said.
Hammond said the University expects to see $20,000 in payments per month.
Hammond said most University Internet users did not have to worry about being charged for modem access because 90 percent of students were connected less than 30 hours in January.
Jeremy Lydell Haugen, a senior majoring in theater and sociology, was one of the 2,244 students receiving a bill for heavy Internet use.
“I don’t mind it so much,” Haugen said. “The rates are extremely fair, especially compared to other professional services.”
Haugen said that he had a problem with the way Networking and Telecommunications Services sent the bill.
“I either have to e-mail my credit card number or print out a copy and pay by check,” Haugen said. “I wish they would just tack it onto my tuition.”
Users being billed can pay by check, credit card or Cybercash.
“Cybercash,” Hammond said, “is a Web-based credit card payment system. It utilizes a method of secure transactions.”