As you walk through residence halls you routinely hear sounds of laughter, video games and music. But one sound you won’t hear is the murmur of cable TV.
This year, Castleton officials decided to do away with cable television service in exchange for faster Internet speed.
This change has evoked mixed emotions.
Junior Vincent Guerrera says that he wishes there was cable because it would be “more convenient to just watch regular television rather than turning on something else that uses more energy in order to watch Netflix.”
While cable is still available in the common area of each building, most students say that they would never go to a common area to watch their favorite shows.
Senior Benjamin Rice said that there’s little chance he would go to a common area to watch television, and if he did, he would go for no more than an hour.
“The most annoying thing is you can’t watch sports in your room,” Rice said. “Things like NFL Sundays; you can’t stream it as easily.”
One place that this change is especially noticeable is in the Fitness Center. The exercise machines still have the television screens, but there’s nothing to watch.
“The TVs are in the way, right in the middle,” said freshman Dakota Detwiler.
Some students like sophomore Marissa Langley see a possible benefit in this change.
Langley said that she’ll be “watching less TV in general, which can be a good thing.”
According to Jeff Weld, director of Marketing and Communications, the school eliminated the cable service because “with today’s savvy internet users, there are so many ways to access TV.”
Many other colleges have done this in recent years, including UVM, which switched two years ago.
Melissa Abbott, a UVM sophomore, said that they have not had cable in her time at the university and no one seems to mind.
“If people have TVs, they just connect their computers to the TV,” said Abbott.
At Castleton, the main reason for the switch was to continue improving the overall Internet speed.
According to Weld, prior to this semester’s upgrade, which multiplied the school’s bandwidth by 10 times, students and staff would regularly hit the maximum level of Internet usage. With the changes, the school’s bandwidth is operating at roughly 25 percent at all times: well below the point of maxing out, Weld said.
“We absolutely had to upgrade,” said Weld. “With a better connection speed we have less opportunity to max out on bandwidth.”
But some students believe they deserve both high-speed Internet and cable in every dorm room.
“Our tuition went up. It’s just stupid. Fast Internet should be a given,” said sophomore Justin Goulet.
For students who agree with Goulet, there may be hope.
SGA delegate Emma Faucher is working with Dean of Students Dennis Proulx to hopefully find an alternative to cable that will allow students to access television programs in their rooms.
“It really comes down to the money,” Faucher said.
She plans to seek opinions from students and then go to administrators to find a television service is that is both affordable and appealing to students.
Time will tell if this change is permanent, but for the time being, Castleton students have some adjusting to do.