COLUMBUS, Ohio & DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ACUHO-I Conference & Expo - Racing to satisfy an insatiable appetite for bandwidth and connectivity on college campuses, one in three schools now offer 7GB or more and nearly two in three are bringing Wi-Fi to four corners of campus, finds the ACUHO-I 2018 State of ResNet Report. Ubiquitous and robust Wi-Fi coverage is a “must have” for attracting and retaining students and essential for driving institutions’ missions. Escalating demand for technology resources that can be used anywhere, anytime, along with the proliferation of devices and applications have caused bandwidth demand and coverage to reach unprecedented levels.
The report, published by the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), is the seventh installment of a study to measure the pulse of ResNet practices and policies in higher education. A total of 435 respondents representing 312 institutions participated in the 2018 survey, a 70 percent increase in completion rates since its inaugural 2012 study.
"As we survey today’s higher education landscape, we are struck by how Wi-Fi and connectivity has rapidly emerged as the lynchpin for student engagement, satisfaction, and success. More universities are responding to a new generation of students prioritizing robust and ubiquitous Wi-Fi and connectivity as an important criterion for their college decision,” said Mary DeNiro, CEO, ACUHO-I. “Our seventh annual ResNet study shows more schools going all out to make this a reality. It’s our hope that this study provides administrators insight into how best to meet connectivity challenges as we continue to innovate and grow.”
Key insights from the 2018 ACUHO-I State of ResNet Report include:
Demand is Insatiable; Will Wi-Fi Reach Four Corners of Campus?
Bandwidth…Bandwidth…BANDWIDTH! Today, more than ever, student bandwidth consumption is increasing at an unparalleled rate on college campuses. As different devices, applications, and “Internet of Things” take over, the common denominator is their requirement for connectivity and bandwidth. To feed this demand, nearly one-third of campuses now provide 7GB or more dedicated to ResNet and 72% offer 1 GB or more – a near three-fold increase since the start of the study in 2012. And to meet the demand for “wireless everywhere,” schools offering comprehensive Wi-Fi throughout 81-100% of the whole campus increased from 56% in 2017 to 64% this year.
What’s Eating All the Data?
For the first time, smartphones top the list for the greediest bandwidth-consuming device with an 11% jump over the past year. Desktops and laptops are #2 as they support rich video, audio, and rich media applications. Smart TVs jump 11% to #3. TV and video consumption (Netflix) and web-based rich content are the largest bandwidth-consuming applications.
Schools Stretching Budget Dollars
Budgets are being stretched to expand Wi-Fi coverage to meet student expectations. Last year, most annual budgets were less than $750K, but this year the majority were between $750K to $2.5M.
More are Outsourcing, and Not Just for ResNet. Why? Competitive
Outsourcing of both ResNet and Administrative Internet are on the rise. This year, 28% of schools are outsourcing or considering outsourcing ResNet, a 9% increase from 2017. Schools outsourcing or considering outsourcing internet for academic, administrative and non-residential parts of campus jumped from 9% to almost 16% in a three-year period. And this year, schools that cite student satisfaction and retention as their reason for outsourcing ResNet increased by 15%.
Strategic Planning & Collaboration are Missing
Where, oh where, has the planning and collaboration gone? In the past five years, the number of institutions with a ResNet strategic plan has fallen from 62% to 52%. And we continue to see lack of communication between decision makers. 40% of business officers and 49% of housing officers do not meet or only meet annually with IT officers.
Support Services are Stalled!
Support fails to keep up with the evolution of technologies. Low-tech support prevails with most schools offering traditional on-site/walk-in, phone, and email support but few utilize newer methods, like social media or text. And 24/7 support is only offered by 17% of schools.
The full report, and its accompanying infographic, are available free at www.acuho-i.org/resnet
About the 2018 State of ResNet Report
ACUHO-I, the professional organization representing college and university housing officers, has conducted the seventh annual study of ResNet practices. ResNets provide wired Internet, Wi-Fi, cable TV services and more to students living in residence halls. The survey was conducted from January 2018 through March 2018. A combined total of 435 respondents representing 312 unique colleges and universities completed the survey. Of the 450 total responses, 228 respondents indicated their primary job was related to IT, 71 to Business and 136 to Housing.
ACUHO-I is the leading organization of choice for campus housing and residence life professionals and home to more than 17,000 professionals representing 1.2 million on-campus students from around the globe. The organization works to continuously optimize on-campus student living environments. With credible benchmarking data, research, and talking points, ACUHO-I demonstrates the positive impact that campus housing and residence life has on student recruitment, retention, growth, and achievement – helping to further elevate the profile of university housing departments, prioritize their needs, and inform decisions that boost the reputation of entire institutions. ACUHO-I invests significant resources in the development of research products, leadership tools, and training programs that housing departments can use to persuade influencers, perform better, and produce exceptional campus housing and residence life solutions. ACUHO-I members enjoy access – making it easy for them to create their own experiences and take advantage of valuable offerings delivered through an array of digital channels, live events, and publications. www.acuho-i.org