Senior Abigail Hudkins missed out on getting to watch the Olympic games this year due to Oklahoma Christian University’s decision to cut cable on campus. This change, Hudkins said, left her disappointed in the reality of campus life.
“I still can’t believe I missed watching so much of the Olympics,” Hudkins said. “I usually have the TV on all day so I don’t miss anything and this year I wasn’t able to do that.”
Chief Technology Director John Hermes said cutting cable was an answer to the budget cuts students and faculty have been dealing with in recent years.
“We are trying to be open, honest and transparent,” Hermes said. “This was a money decision and we think it’s best for the majority of students.”
According to Hermes, campus-wide cable cost Oklahoma Christian $135,000 a year and was about to go up five percent.
Oklahoma Christian’s Support Central office suggested doubling the bandwidth on campus to offset the fact that students will now be streaming online more often. Doubling the bandwidth cost the university $60,000.
“Doubling the bandwidth should fix all the issues we hear complaints about and improve internet issues,” Hermes said. “Our reports from the spring semester showed us that our bandwidth was pretty good so doubling it should solve any problems.”
Oklahoma Christian’s previous contract with Cox Communications as a television provider would expire next year. According to Hermes, when Cox announced their changes in technology, the decision to end cable this year became necessary.
“We had already decided that we were going to cut cable next year,” Hermes said. “But because of the hardware changes, they were going to put all new boxes and remotes in the dorm, it had to be decided this year. That would have been a nightmare for us to manage.”
Oklahoma Christian also increased the number of Wi-Fi access points across campus, which according to Hermes, should make streaming online run smoothly for students.
“We’ve added more access points in residential areas, especially in west housing, hoping to address some of these issues students have with internet problems,” Hermes said. “ But one of our biggest problems is students setting up their own access points, which causes interference. We need students to stop doing that.”
Hudkins said she started feeling the aftermath of students returning to campus after seeing her Netflix buffer more frequently.
“I can already notice the Wi-Fi getting slower as people start to move in,” Hudkins said. “I’m really worried about being able to watch Netflix, and I know a lot of other people are too.”
Support Central sent out an email to the student body to inform them of this decision. However, it sent this email after cable was discontinued, giving many students living on campus no warning.
Junior Shaylin Hicks lived on campus this summer. Hicks said she was surprised and disappointed when her cable stopped working.
“When all of the sudden OC got rid of cable, I was really upset,” Hicks said. “Getting rid of cable means no more Thunder games, no more weather and no more of the shows I can only watch live.”
Hermes said he suggested removing cable as a means to save money because alternatives, such as Netflix and Hulu, are growing increasingly popular.
“We can already see internet traffic patterns and we can see how much Netflix is being used, “ Hermes said. “We know it’s using a lot of bandwidth. This was one way to keep costs lower for our students.”
Hicks said she felt using other outlets instead of cable is not an easy fix to the problem.
“I understand that there is Netflix and Hulu but we have to pay to have access to that,” Hicks said. “Now I’ll have to use my own gas to drive somewhere else to watch something I should be able to here.”
Hermes said Oklahoma Christian did not look into other cable companies before the making the decision to discontinue use with Cox Communications.
Cable will still be accessible in the Gaylord University Center and the residential areas’s lobbies and fitness areas, including The Dub. Students living in the Tealridge Retirement Community will also have access to cable.
More information about purchasing an individual cable plan is available online.