UNC Chapel Hill may charge for personal Internet usage

UNC Chapel Hill might charge their students for Internet usage that does not pertain to their academic studies.  This means UNC would charge for usage on sites like Facebook, online gaming and streaming video to offset their technology costs.

According to WRAL in Raleigh, students use a smaller percentage of on-campus phone lines, but students account for a large growth in network usage, said Mike Barker, UNC’s chief technology officer.

“The basic principal here is just trying to be fair to all of our constituents,” Barker said of the proposed Internet fee for students.

There are several conflicting views of the proposed charge. For instance, a student could be downloading a movie from Netflix or watching YouTube videos for class work, so Barker said officials plan to consult with UNC’s Student Government Association on the issue. Barker said officials will evaluate what current technology fees are being used for to determine if they could cover network costs with the existing fees. If UNC does institute an Internet fee for students, university funds would cover the remainder of the network costs, according to WRAL.

The committee suggested the Internet fee could be estimated between $40 and $60 a year for each student added on to an already rising tuition. Could Western Carolina start charging for personal Internet usage?

“Each UNC campus uses different funding models to cover various operating costs, including those related to information technology,” said Craig A. Fowler, Chief Information Officer. “The data network funding model at Western Carolina is different than the one at UNC Chapel Hill. Although the world of information technology is a constantly evolving environment, WCU currently has no plans to change its approach or to charge students for non-academic usage of the data network.”

Should WCU charge for personal Internet usage in the future, students vocalized their opinions about increased university fees.

Andrew Capatino, a freshman, said, “I think that would go against what we do here at WCU because we pay to live on campus and we give all our money to go to this school. Our personal Internet usage should be included in the charges we already pay.”

“If they take the charge out of the $400 plus for athletics that is included in our tuition and fees, then I would be all for it,” said T’Shana McClain, a sophomore. 

Erik Hale also raised a point about what types of Internet should be restricted.

“If there is an emergency and parents need to contact their kids via email, they might not be able to check their email because they couldn’t afford additional charges,” he said.

“I think that students would find ways around having to pay. They most likely would break the rules and buy their own Wi-Fi to save money. Facebook isn’t something people are willing to give up. People will find a way to keep it, without paying,” said freshman Robyn Kenyon.