29 Sep 2020

Why student internet is more important than ever

The new academic year has begun and thousands of students are heading off to university. However 2020 is proving to be no ordinary year and as such students are facing unprecedented challenges to their student experience.

The current pandemic has changed many parts of our daily lives and impacted on our work and social lives in a way that has never been seen before. For students going to university this year this is no exception.

As the nation attempts to deal with a second wave of the virus, students from across the country are being asked to reduce their socialising and attend many lectures virtually, and in some cases students are being asked to isolate in their accommodation to control outbreaks.

For those living in university owned and private purpose built accommodation, this means they're spending a significantly larger amount of their time in their rooms and flats and not interacting with others in a way that they would have done so in years gone by. For many, going to university will be the first time that many young people will have spent a significant amount of time away from home, away from parents and their social circle. This can have a real negative impact on student welfare and mental health.

Institutions themselves are also having to adapt to meet local lockdown restrictions and also be mindful of their own duty of care to their students. Consequently many courses are now operating a 40, 50 or even 80% online teaching programme. For students this means their missing out on a major part of their university experience, interacting with others and being able to easily ask questions. For vocational courses the move to online learning is of significant disadvantage.

Whether it be a shift to online learning, the need to spend more time speaking to fiends and family or entertainment, students in PBSA rely hugely of fast and reliable internet provision. Accommodation blocks may house hundreds of students, many of which will all be working, studying or looking for entertainment and communication at any one time. It's therefore absolutely critical that the internet provision at this accommodation is up to the job.

Bandwidth use has been steadily rising year on year thanks to the rise of services such as Zoom, Netflix, gaming and social media. Broadband services based around older, copper based networks were already struggling to cope with the increased demand even before the pandemic, now things for many students are looking pretty bleak internet wise.

Of course we all hope that the pandemic will pass and some sense of normality can be resumed, however it is likely that there will be a permanent shift in university and student behaviour. This is likely to result in increased use of online services and increased strain on legacy networks. For universities and accommodation providers, now is the ideal time to look at investing in future proofed fibre neworking. Only this technology can deliver the fastest and most reliable speeds and bandwidth available today and easily up gradable to tomorrow as technology develops further. In turn, providing this ultrafast connectivity will improve student satisfaction and help their overall welfare too.

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