by Dan Stangel
With the explosive growth of the Internet over the past few years, busy signals on the approximately 300 general-access high-speed modems serving the campus are ubiquitous.
To discuss this issue, and possible solutions, the Open Computing Facility hosted a panel discussion Nov. 17 in Sibley Auditorium featuring campus leaders involved in shaping the evolving campus policy on modem access.
OCF is a student-run organization dedicated to free computing for all members of the campus community. Speakers at its forum included Cliff Frost, director of Communications and Network Services; Lee Fink, ASUC vice president; and Tim Heidinger, computer resource manager for the office of the vice chancellor for undergraduate affairs.
The debate focused on who should pay for system upgrades, as well as broader underlying issues such as whether the Internet and its resources should be considered instructional materials integral to the university's operation.
Next semester, Communications and Network Services will begin a pilot fee-based access program, in addition to its traditional free access program. For a monthly fee, users will have access to a pool of 33.6 Kbps modems, which will be guaranteed not to be busy and which will carry fewer restrictions than the free service.