By Roshaunda Coleman
During a visit to Milner Library on Aug. 1 Gov. Pat Quinn held a press conference to announce the completion of a nearly $100 million project to improve broadband Internet access around the state. Illinois State University played a major role in developing and building the new broadband infrastructure, which installed more than 1,000 new miles of high-speed fiber-optic cable in 55 counties.
The project was supported by Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! construction program. The project was said to have created almost 700 jobs spreading access to high-speed broadband services for schools, libraries, hospitals and Internet providers throughout Illinois.
As a student at Illinois State University we all have experienced the frustration of slow Internet service, especially during times such as midterms and finals when the Internet is being used by thousands of students at once causing the connection to slow. Ideally, this project should serve some relief to students this upcoming school year. But the question arises, will this $100 million Internet improvement project make a noticeably significant difference in the university’s broadband speed?
With ISU having such a large contribution to this project it is expected that the university will be among the schools and libraries that will benefit from this project. Although a brilliant approach to staying ahead of our ever-evolving technological generation, there is a possibility that the project may fall short of expectations on campus due to the recent increase of incoming and returning students. It is acknowledged that the increase in students alone may not seem like a viable reason for the project to be anything less than expected but according to GlobalNewsWire’s “College Explorer Study” as of June 2013, the average college student owns seven wireless devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops and game consoles.
With over 20,000 students, seven wireless devices per student is enough alone to slow down any broadband network and that still does not account for faculty’s personal and work devices along with the several thousand Ethernet cords connecting computers online all over the school’s campus.
Taking all of this information into account, the beginning question is posed again. Will this $100 million Internet improvement make a noticeably significant difference in ISU’s broadband speed? The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. Despite the idea that due to the much-
anticipated traffic coming through the broadband network, there may not be a noticeable change in the Internet speed. However without the projects increase in speed, the network may not have been able to continue to sustain its overall usefulness.
Roshaunda Coleman is a sophomore broadcast major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.