MAC goes high speed

Dial-up Internet service is so ‘90s, but Main Apartment Complex residents still live with glacial connection speeds and tied-up telephone lines. Until December.

MAC bedrooms will be outfitted with digital subscriber line modem boxes in December, director of Information Technology Services Peter Rock said. DSL uses existing telephone wires so housing won’t need to install new ones.

“They’ll provide at least 10 times the speed you’re getting right now,” Rock said.

The upgrades are needed because UA dial-up will disappear Dec. 31, including the service MAC residents use. Students living off campus who receive free dial-up service through the university will also be disconnected at the end of the year. If they want to stay connected, they’ll have to pay a commercial company for the service themselves.

UAA hopes to provide discounted rates through a commercial company for students living off campus, Rock said.

The statewide university system will save $269,000 a year by discontinuing the service, according to a memo issued May 6 by Steve Smith, UA’s chief information technology officer.

“We want to make sure that MAC students have continued access to the UAA network after dial-up goes away,” Rock said.

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Another advantage of the upgrades is MAC residents will be able to talk on the telephone and surf the Internet simultaneously.

“It would be nice to have faster Internet,” said Bonnie Moore, a MAC resident and junior Japanese major. “I’d use it more often and get more done.”

The wire in MAC apartments is old, Rock said, and five megabits per second is the fastest speed the wire can accommodate.

“It’s a limitation of MAC housing itself.”

The MAC upgrade is a joint project between ITS and business services in housing. ITS will build the network in November and install the boxes in MAC bedrooms in December.

Dorm residents, who already have access to cable Internet that operates at 10 megabits per second, will not be affected.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, visit www.alaska.edu/its/project/dialup.