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Computing Center to Discontinue Dialup Network Services
By Dr. Maurice Leatherbury, Senior Director of Academic Computing
The Computing Center's Premium Remote Access Service has been losing subscribers and, unfortunately, money, for the past year. As users have shifted to direct Ethernet connections in the dorms or have chosen to get broadband access from either the phone company (DSL) or the cable company (cable modems,) the income from PRAS has dropped to the point that it won't even pay for the phone lines that users dial into. Faced with that continuing loss in revenue as well as a probable budget cut next fiscal year, UNTís Computing Center will cease providing both paid (PRAS) and free dialup network service to the Universityís users effective August 31, 2003. Both the Information Resource Council and the Council of Deans have discussed the question of dropping dialup service and have approved the change. Existing users of the premium service will continue to receive service through the length of their existing contracts.
A number of factors weighed in the decision to drop dialup line support:
Alternatives for Dialup Users
With nearly 300 ISPs serving the Denton area, students, faculty and staff, have many options from which to choose. Many of the ISPs offer Internet service for $10.00 per month, and many also offer higher speed broadband services at additional charges. ISP locating services are available on the web from www.isp.com or www.ispfinder.com, or by using one of the many search services like Yahoo, Google or MetaCrawler. To find an ISP on a search service, simply enter "ISP Denton Texas," "ISP locator" or "$10 ISP Denton Texas."
Those who can afford broadband service (around $40 to $50/mo.) can ask their local phone or cable provider about service to their homes. Although DSL or cable service isnít available in many locations, those who have subscribed to those types of service have been relatively pleased with their speed and reliability.
As an alternative to paying for Internet access, there are a number of ISPs that offer free dialup services. Although these services are free, you may have to pay the "price" of having to see advertisements on everything you view on the Web with those services. Again, one of the ISP finders can help you find those free services.
The Computing Center is working with Purchasing and Payment Services to see if the University can negotiate with one or more ISPís to offer former users of UNTís remote access services a special deal for using their service. We expect to know the outcome of that effort by mid-June 2003.
The Helpdesk has started a Frequently Asked Questions page to which you can refer for additional information about the discontinuance of the dialup lines. You can also E-mail Maurice Leatherbury at firstname.lastname@example.org if you don't find the information you're looking for there.