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“The days of searching for an empty common room so that you can watch SportsCenter on ESPN, or stay up to date on the war with CNN, are nearly over,” says Undergraduate Council representative Wes Kauble ’06. The council has passed a resolution introduced by Kauble urging the administration to implement an innovative and inexpensive “ethernet cable” system. The collective dream of cable access in every Harvard dorm appears close to becoming a reality. The final decision falls to the Committee on House Life, which should implement the Kauble cable plan.
Instead of wiring every dorm with conventional television cables—a laborious and costly process—Kauble’s initiative makes use of new technology to bring cable channels direct to students’ desktops, via ethernet. “While it is much too expensive to install cable boxes in every dorm room,” says Kauble, “cable television via the existing ethernet network provides an affordable alternative that will finally bring students the programming that they deserve”. This technology has already been proven effective on the Northwestern University campus, where students now watch cable channels on their computers for just $12.50 a month. And Harvard’s Director of Computer Services, Frank Steen, has concluded that this technology would be feasible here too.
Harvard is now one of only two Ivy League schools—Cornell is the other—at which students do not have cable, and bringing cable to every dorm would be a welcome improvement. Students could stay informed with channels like CNN and MSNBC, learn something new on the Discovery Channel, or rest their weary minds while kicking back to ESPN, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central or MTV. In fact, access should be made universal: the cost should be included in the room fee so that financial aid will cover access for those who can not otherwise afford it.
In May, the Committee on House Life will vote on whether to give cable access the go-ahead. It is hard to imagine why they would not, given that inexpensive ethernet-cable technology has already been proven to work, that cable television has significant educational and recreational benefits and that Steen has declared the technology to be feasible for Harvard. And when you can get the latest news from Kabul—via cable to your computer—thank Kauble.
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