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Report: Campus ResNet Services Facing Increasing Costs and Reduced Budgets

Universities and colleges are doing more to meet bandwidth demands for residential networking (ResNet), but are struggling with growing costs and shrinking budgets, according to the second annual State of the ResNet report released this week by the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA) and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

The 2013 report analyzes results from 280 completed surveys representing 251 universities and colleges with on-campus housing for students. The report is part of a five-year tracking study intended to measure variations in ResNet practices and policies in higher education. This is the first year that NACUBO participated in the study, and this is the first time the pool of survey respondents extended beyond higher education IT officers to include CFOs and business officers.

According to the report, 61 percent of universities and colleges surveyed expect ResNet costs to rise, but only 39 percent saw an increase in their ResNet operating budget, and 10 percent saw a decrease. The increased demand for ResNet services is primarily a result of the proliferation of high-bandwidth applications and streaming services, and consequently institutions have increased ResNet bandwidth and speeds over the past year.

Other findings from the survey:

  • Only 40 percent of campuses have a strategic plan for ResNet growth and 14 percent are unsure whether they even have a plan;
  • Thirty-three percent of ResNets feature one gigabyte or more of bandwidth;
  • Eighty percent of respondents allow unlimited devices on their ResNet, an increase of 12 percent over last year;
  • Sixteen percent of respondents allow students to purchase additional bandwidth, up from only 6 percent last year;
  • Twenty-two percent of respondents outsourced or have considered outsourcing portions of the ResNet, with residential cable being the most commonly outsourced service, followed by phone and Internet service, and the student help desk is the service least likely to be considered for outsourcing; and
  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents do not provide 24/7 support.

The complete report, "2013 ACUTA/NACUBO State of the ResNet Report: ResNet Trends & Practices Across Higher Education", is available on the ACUTA site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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