On Oct. 1, all Troy University residence halls, except for the New Residence Hall, stopped receiving cable television, but they received increased bandwidth and flexibility on the Wi-Fi networks, according to an email from Herbert Reeves, the dean of student services.
Removing the cable access represents a split from Troy Cablevision, but the internet access will continue to come from AT&T.
Previously, all residence halls on campus shared 3 gigabytes (GB) per second, two of which were used by New Res, leaving only one to be shared by all other residence halls, said Reeves in an interview with the Tropolitan.
New Res will still receive 2 GB per second, but the other residence halls will now have an increased bandwidth and share 8 GB per second for faster internet connection.
“With only having that one gig, it’s severely limited what we could do with internet, as far as streaming and stuff like that,” Reeves said. “Every year students are coming with more devices.
They’re coming with, you know, new technology. They’re not watching cable; they’re watching Netflix, Hulu, whatever all those other things are.”
According to the email, “streaming media devices” will now be allowed by the University, due to “discontinued” cable.
Greg Price, the chief technology officer of Troy University, explained that the increase in bandwidth allows for relaxed restrictions on the Wi-Fi networks in the residence halls.
“Because we didn’t have a lot of bandwidth in residential areas, there were restrictions on the volume of traffic and the types of devices,” he said. “We are relaxing those restrictions tremendously so that, now, students can engage in a more robust entertainment experience,” said Price.
Students will now be able to connect streaming devices to the building Wi-Fi name without authenticating to the network, at this time, according to the email.
Price does not believe that the increased traffic on the networks will ultimately slow them down.
“There would have to be a radical increase in devices for there to be internal contention for traffic,” Price said.
Reeves explained that the demand for cable television has decreased in past years, but that the demand for additional bandwidth has increased.
Along with rising costs from Troy Cablevision (the cable provider for Troy residence halls) and the increasing demand for bandwidth, the search for an alternative began.
In 2016, Troy paid about $250,000 to provide cable for the residence halls, but with the bandwidth increase and cable cut, Troy will save about two-thirds of that money, according to Reeves.
The changes in cable and internet were made at the beginning of a fiscal year (which began Oct. 1) for the university, Reeves said.
“We actually started our new budget here yesterday (Sunday),” he said. “Once we see what that savings is going to be, down to the penny, then we’ll sit down and decide how we will utilize those funds to upgrade and enhance other areas of the residence halls.”
Student response to the changes has been low, said Reeves. Two or three students have expressed that they do not have a streaming device and would like to be able to access cable, but Reeves pointed them to online sources for cable shows.
Some are disappointed in the loss of cable access while others look forward to the increased internet capabilities.
Savanna Johnsey, a freshman theatre education major from Hueytown and resident of the Newman Center, expressed resentment over the loss of her cable access.
“I paid roughly $200 to buy a TV plus $50 to buy a cable so that I may watch TV in my dorm,” she said. “And that was taken away.”
In contrast, Madi McCall, a freshman theatre education major from Ponte Vedra, Florida, and resident of Trojan Village, is pleased with the change to be able to stream on her devices. She bought a Roku device for her TV so she could use her laptop and use Netflix at the same time.
“I was so frustrated,” she said when at first she could not connect her Roku device to the Wi-Fi, but with the updates, she is now able to use it.
“It has been so nice to be able to sit there and actually do stuff on canvas (on my laptop), but also watch ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and chill,” she said. “It’s been great.”