University of California, San Diego

SUBJECT: Modem Access to Campus Networks - Fee-for-Service Program
Effective July 1, 1996, the network access modem pool maintained by Network Operations within Academic Computing Services (ACS) will become a fee-for- service operation. Everyone who currently dials in to the "free" modem pool to access campus computing systems will pay a monthly fee. The introduction of this fee structure is necessitated by the dramatic increase in modem use. As many of you know, our current service levels are unacceptable; it is now impossible to dial in successfully without encountering extensive amounts of busy signals. We now have 11,000 users attempting to use the 300 modems currently available in the Network Operations modem pool. This ratio of 1 modem to 36 users vastly exceeds our ideal ratio of 1 modem to 12 users. User fees will be used to support and expand the modem pool to a level sufficient to meet the needs of UCSD faculty, staff, and students. Given the importance of online scholarly information and the role that technology now plays at UCSD, we must improve considerably our ability to access computing resources via the network access modem pool.
The base fee will be $10/month. For this monthly base, users will receive 25 hours of prime time connectivity and unlimited non prime time connectivity. Users will be billed $.30/hour for additional prime time use up to a monthly maximum of $50. Prime time is defined as:
3:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Users will be billed the base fee only for months in which there is actual usage; there will be no charge for months with no use.
Before deciding to implement a fee-based service, we pursued a variety of other funding options. Our initial step was to find an ongoing source of funding to support adequately our current user base and dramatically escalating volumes of traffic. Funding of over $1 million per year would need to be identified; needless to say, we were unsuccessful in locating this amount of money on an ongoing basis. Remote access could also be contracted to a commercial Internet service provider, as many of our sister campuses are now doing. Current remote access users would then need to become users of one of the Internet service providers in the area. After reviewing prices and service levels that were available locally from a variety of Internet service providers, we decided to offer a fee-based remote access service. ACS staff believe that they can offer a reliable service that compares favorably with services provided by commercial Internet service providers, given that there already exists a substantial investment on campus in the current modem pool. More detailed information, plus frequently asked questions with answers, is available on the ACS Network Operations home page:
We will continue to monitor developments in telecommunications and networking as they occur in the field. If at any point it appears that a less-expensive, high quality network access service becomes available from a different provider, we will certainly migrate to such a service. Please send comments, questions, or suggestions to Tony Wood, Director, Academic Computing Services (twood@ucsd.edu).
Gerald R. Lowell
Associate Vice Chancellor - Academic Information Technology