Freshman Jacob Samuelson, watches That 70's Show, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Botsford/Swinford Hall. Ball State plans to get rid of campus cable. Alex Straw,DN
Ball State continues cutting student cable access in dorms
Ball State is cutting the cord on cable services in more residence halls this year.
The university has decided to phase out wired television service from its residence halls and reinvest in higher bandwidth.
According to the Ball State Office of Housing and Residence Life, survey data from the past five years indicates more than 90 percent of students in the halls do not use cable.
Instead, students watch shows and movies through streaming services like Netflix or Hulu on their personal devices.
Ball State first made the move away from cable when it built residence hall Johnson B.
Dorms like Dehority Complex and Park Hall cut the cable to students in Fall 2018. Some buildings still have the service in places including Woodworth and Noyer Complex.
But according to Chris Wilkey, Head of Communications in the Ball State Office of Housing and Residence Life, if less than 10 percent of students use cable in the future, the service could be completely removed.
“If the students still feel like they want cable television in the dorms, then we’ll work to accommodate that, but that doesn’t seem to be the case so far,” Wilkey said.
Students may be losing their cable, but the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and other student organizations are gaining access to Swank, an academic streaming service. Swank will give residence halls and student organizations access to more than 200 movies each month.
“It wasn’t picked as a replacement to the cable. It was an added bonus to something we were already looking to have for student organizations,” Wilkey said.
The streaming service will only be available to students in common areas, like media rooms and lounges. RHA President Kathy Berryhill said the switch will make event planning easier than in previous years.
“Two years ago, because it was Halloween, we showed 'The Purge,' which felt fitting, but to get that movie we had to use one of our spots, and there’s not a whole lot of other programming other organizations can do around 'The Purge,'" Berryhill said. “With the database, it’s probably also going to allow us to just have more movie nights and reach a wider audience within the halls.”
The streaming service is on track to be available Spring 2019. Cable service will stay in the remaining dorms for now.