Broadband Internet Service for Staff Use at Home

by Raymond Poon

With reference to our article on “Broadband: An Express Highway to the Net” published in the last issue of Network Computing as well as the CSC Forum on “Introduction to Broadband Internet”, it has become clear that broadband is gradually replacing the traditional 56Kbps modem line in terms of Internet access from home. With so many Internet Service Providers (ISP) jumping on the bandwagon to provide broadband Internet services, let us examine some of the benefits it may bring to our staff when we subscribe these services:

  • Enable staff development and self-learning through fast Internet access and hence add values to their teaching and research.
  • Maintain effective communication with the University and students while staff are at home.
  • Communication links that are used to deliver broadband services are dedicated ones (though the actual line speed and performance may vary from ISP to ISP), staff will not have the frustration of repeatedly trying to find an unengaged modem line. Some ISPs even offer free access to their 56K modem pools for use by staff’s other computers.
  • If staff had already subscribed to an additional phone line primarily for Internet access, they should seriously consider replacing it by switching to the broadband service since there is only around HK$100 difference in the monthly rental charge but many times difference in speed. However, some ISPs, on top of the rental charge, may impose an access charge of around $2 per hour.
  • A broadband service is many times faster than a 56K dial-up line. Many services such as: FTP, IP phone, download software, etc which staff hesitate to do with a 56K dial-up line will become more accessible when staff subscribe to broadband services. Moreover, if staff's PCs are networked together and running Windows 98 Second Edition or later version, they will all be able to have access to the Internet through the same broadband connection using Ethernet technology.

With the extra funding allocated to departments this year, departments are urged to consider paying the Broadband Internet Service charges in full or in part for some or all their staff so that they can tap the vast and useful information provided on the Internet for their own development at home, which in turn can benefit the University as a whole.