George van Dyk & Hayley Grammer
Students have mixed feelings about the efficacy of Stellenbosch University’s (SU) current internet quota system.
Inetkey allows users to connect to the Internet, and tracks their data usage and corresponding costs in real time. It consists of a wide area network running on a 1 GB/s international and 10 GB/s national fibre backbone.
Current tariffs for internet usage are as follows: 2 cents per megabyte (MB), Monday to Friday 08h00-23h59 and 1 cent per MB during all other hours. That equates to R20 and R10 per gigabyte (GB), respectively.
“The Inetkey pay-as-you-go method of charging for internet use is a longstanding practice at SU and has proven itself as the best model for our specific environment,” said Attie Juyn, director of SU’s Information Technology (IT) Department.
“The income is allocated to a control account from which the costs associated with internet provision is funded. Our aim is to provide as much bandwidth as needed, while maintaining a satisfactory service level.
“Free Internet does not really exist anywhere in the world, it merely means somebody else pays for it.”
Yet, debate is aflame among students who feel as though they aren’t getting bang for their buck.
“I definitely feel that Inetkey has become more expensive over the years. I mean, in my first year I paid something like R50 for the whole year, now I pay R50 per month,” said Dylan Fourie, a Mechanical Engineering master’s student.
Another student posted about anonymously on Stellies Rage: “Is it just me or is my inetkey running out way too fast. At this rate, by May I will have #dololo inetkey! #inetkeymustfall #freewififorall#deconolize #inetkeyisduur #Iwasneverready #Iamtoobrokeforthis”.
However, IT confirmed that the prices for Inetkey have not increased since 2013.
“It’s not the price that increased, but the data usage. Data usage is higher due to a much faster bandwidth speed, so it is easy to consume a lot of data in a short amount of time.
“Frequent app updates on various devices and hidden data usage caused by downloads in the background add to the costs.
“We usually advise students to monitor their internet usage on www.sun.ac.za/useradm as well, since it shows a breakdown of the MBs you used, the rate per MB and the total cost. It might also be worth mentioning.”