Residence halls offer wireless services

Skip the library. Pass the Marshall Center.

Students living in residence halls now have access to wireless Internet within the comfort of their own rooms rather than the common areas of campus.

The switch from telephone landlines to wireless Internet access began at the start of the semester, and is in keeping with a joint decision of Residence Services and Resident Hall Association (RHA) last year.

The change to wireless Internet has come about because resident-students rarely use landlines to communicate.

A survey of residents showed that fewer than 25 percent used the landline telephone service in their rooms and some students did not even have a phone hooked up in their rooms, said Dean of Residence Services Tom Kane.

So, Residence Services proposed replacing the telephone service with wireless services in the halls to the RHA.

“We formed a committee to look further into the issue and did a survey of residents, finding that about 87 percent said it would be a good idea,” said Melissa Weibley, RHA president. “With the majority (vote), we decided to approve this new wireless plan.”

Some locations on campus have wireless access, but the residence halls did not have wireless access because of different funding services, Kane said.

In a deal worked out with University Information Technology (IT), the total cost of the transformation – including the purchase and installation of wireless equipment – was about $1.2 million.

Residents will no longer have phone access in their personal rooms but will have access in the common areas, Weibley said.

The installations, conducted by IT and three other contracted companies, began in September and are being completed on a floor-by-floor basis.

Cypress, Kappa and Kosove are expected to be done by mid-April, Kane told the Oracle.

He expects other residence halls to be finished by the time residents return from winter break.

“We will be the first university in Florida to be wireless in all our residence hall rooms when we finish this year,” Kane said.

The installations should not result in increased fees or rates next year, as the project is funded with money borrowed from the Housing Finance Reserve. Residence Services plans to pay back those loans with the money saved from extricating the landline telephone services.

“I think this will make it more convenient for students to study and work,” said Kane. “Now students won’t have to be hooked up to the Internet; they can sit on their sofas and type papers.”

Student who still want a phone in their rooms can still get one, however, as any resident requesting a landline telephone can pay a $50 connection fee plus $25 a month for the service.

Student reactions to the plan are mixed.

Jesse Cohen, a senior majoring in psychology who lives in Cypress Hall, dislikes the change.

“I prefer the telephone landline because I talk on the phone a lot and I don’t even use the wireless,” he said.

“I never use the wireless because I have my ethernet connection. It’s faster anyway. The wireless is so slow. I’ve used it. It’s awful.”

One student in favor of the wireless connection is Brooklynn Carr, a freshman majoring in mass communications who lives in Cypress C.

Carr said wireless allows you to communicate better with your peers.

“You can study better with partners, you’re not confined to your room and you’re able to go anywhere on campus and have wireless now,” she said.

Anna Peters can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or