Cheap broadband at Massey University

It may be the cheapest broadband deal in the country - after paying installation costs it's only $10 a month, but there's a catch. You have to enrol as a student at Massey University and live in the soon-to-be-wired student accommodation.

It may be the cheapest broadband deal in the country - after paying installation costs it's only $10 a month, but there's a catch. You have to enrol as a student at Massey University and live in the soon-to-be-wired student accommodation.

Massey has already upgraded its existing copper wire network to cope with data traffic using Cisco's Long Reach ethernet technology and will now extend it to the students’ rooms, says Keith Linforth, the university's assistant director of infrastructure.

"We rolled out the service to the student accommodation areas and are now looking at extending it to the rooms themselves."

Students will be able to access university services, like timetables and exam results, as well as the internet via Massey's connection to the global gateway.

"We looked at wireless solutions and at deploying fibre … We already had the old copper cable in the ground which was supporting voice services to the student accommodation."

Long Reach, however, was a more cost-effective solution overall.

"It doesn't fit into all our runs, there's a distance limitation of I think about 1600 metres."

Linforth says the connection speed is dependent on how far down the line from the exchange you are and the quality of the cable itself.

"But it is much faster than dial-up generally speaking."

While $10 doesn't seem too much to pay for broadband, whatever speed it runs at, Linforth says if students abuse the system there is a caveat in the contract that allows Massey to charge on a megabyte used scale instead.

"For general use we're happy with the $10 charge but if the students start downloading MP3 files 24 hours a day, for example, then yes there will be additional charging."

The service should be available to more than 300 rooms around Massey's Palmerston North campus in the coming months.

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