University eliminates charges on data plans

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Photo Credit: Danielle Henderson | Daily Texan Staff

Charges for data plans on the UT network are now eliminated, the University announced last Monday.

Previously, students, faculty and staff paid for limited individual network data plans to use internet on the UT network. Beginning this semester, this fee is eliminated and there will no longer be a limit. The changes are effective immediately.

Christopher Sedore, UT vice president and chief information officer, said this change comes after UT President Gregory Fenves heard students’ concerns that paying for data plans is a barrier in conducting academic work.

“What we hope and expect is getting rid of (the charges) will enable students to take full advantage of the great connectivity that we have here at UT,” Sedore said.

Sedore said the elimination of charges has nothing to do with new funding allocations or the recent increase in tuition. This change is made possible solely because Information Technology Services found a way to reduce costs, Sedore said.

Computer science freshman Jeffrey Wang said he hopes this change will not result in students abusing their privilege of free unlimited internet.

“The primary concern from students who are kind of tech savvy and realize how bandwidth management works is that (they’re) worried about people who … might ruin the experience of the fast network for others,” Wang said.

According to the ITS website, ITS will monitor for excessive consumption and may limit speed for these users. ITS will also communicate with these users and found a way to support them if their excessive usage is based on an academic need.

“Our goal is to have fair access to the network so that everyone gets great network performance,” Sedore said.

Economics graduate student Larisa Barreto said although the data cap gave a certain amount of free data, it was not enough for her to fully complete her academic work. The elimination of the data cap will not only be beneficial for students financially but also save students the trouble of navigating through the complicated payment system, Barreto said.

“It will primarily help people who maybe aren’t internet savvy,” Barreto said. “I had to Google (how to pay for more internet) and it took me awhile to figure it out too. It’s just that access of …  a resource that we should have for free is always better when it’s not behind some sort of payment wall for students.”