Mr.TinDC, on flickr
Students who are on-campus residents can now get access to Xfinity streaming services.
The university’s I.T. department decided to give students who live on campus free access to the service on their devices as of this school year.
This decision to join with Comcast was made after careful and close monitoring of student interests for the past five to six years.
Mark Reboli, Network Telecommunications and I.T. Security Manager, said staff members at I.T. do frequent surveys with students to learn how to keep up to date with things in which they might be interested.
“We do surveys with the students, especially in the residence side; we reach out to them,” said Reboli. “We’ve been watching what they’re doing on cable and we also watch what’s going on the market.”
The number of people switching to streaming services while the university was still using cable services was one of the things that got Reboli’s attention.
“We are providing a service that the students don’t really use or don’t really want and they would rather us do something else, so that’s one of the things we looked at,” he said.
By having students complete surveys through I.T., Student Government and residence life, the last two to three years gave signs of what students wanted, as they showed only about 23% of students watched cable TV.
“We’re spending money on that, so let’s spend the money on other stuff that you guys want. So, I found Xfinity and I negotiated a contract,” Reboli explained.
The crucial part of this new contract with Comcast is that it is for resident students only. Reboli said it is based on student credentials, such as MyMU login information, which are used in an authentication system to prove if the student is actually a resident student.
Like every other new trial or addition, there were concerns. For Reboli and I.T., one of the concerns was about the bandwidth from these students streaming as their main source.
Before Xfinity streaming was offered, they doubled their circuit from one gigabyte to two. They chose to double it to four gigabytes to be sure that Xfinity would not impact students’ regular searches.
Along with the bandwidth, I.T. has also been tweaking the school’s wi-fi to keep up with the new service and regular use of the internet.
“We’ll have stuff coming out on that soon,” Reboli said.
Misericordia had its own Xfinity representative to get feedback from the students on this new change.
“We just went from traditional cable to streaming; that’s a major change for the students. How was it taken so far? Well, what we’ve seen is it’s been positive,” Reboli said.
Reboli believes making this switch to Xfinity was the right choice.
“I think it takes us in the right direction,” he said. “It kind of replaced something that really students weren’t utilizing and we now gave them something where they are actually utilizing. They actually like it,;there’s a lot of neat features in there that have really allowed us to upgrade what we provide to the resident students here.”
Jamie Sweeney, sophomore Diagnostic Medical Sonography major, does not have the Xfinity service because she hasn’t had the chance to look into it. Despite this, however, Sweeney thinks it is a nice gesture provided by the school for students.
“I think it’s nice to offer it to students that can’t afford to pay for it, or other services such as Hulu or Netflix, themselves,” she said.
Sweeney said, even though it is a good intent, there could be negatives that come with it.
“I feel like the university providing this streaming could be part of the reason as to why the school’s wi-fi connection has been having many problems,” she said.
Sweeney has opinions about how to make the service appeal to more students.
“Not everybody who lives on campus has a Roku device or an HDMI cable, I don’t, so I think that making this service available to those who don’t have an HDMI cable or the Roku device might be more beneficial to more students,” she said.
The Xfinity service set up is available to all resident students under the “Information Technology” tab in the “student life” section on the MyMU page.