Plan for cable improvement in the works



Kate Carrubba

The University is pursuing a plan to improve cable television services in the residence halls with the ultimate goal of having a single connection in each room that would provide expanded cable television services as well as Internet access.

For over a year now, Villanova and Comcast have been in negotiations to upgrade campus cable services from the University’s current basic cable.

The University and Comcast recently set the target date for completion of the project for fall 2008.

If everything goes according to plan, the current portfolio of 60 channels would expand to include all of those channels that Comcast offers, including the option of premium channels.

Students would also be offered the option of purchasing a digital video recorder, much like the well-known TiVo.

According to Stephen Fugale, the chief information officer of UNIT and one of the chief participants in the negotiations, the technology department is looking to expand the plan to include high-speed Internet services for University students through Comcast as well.

Despite the addition of many new features to Villanova’s current basic plan, the cost for the students is not expected to increase substantially. Comcast’s direct rates would most likely be discounted, though a final price has not been determined. Extra services, such as a DVR, would cost extra.

SGA originally proposed the expansion of cable television services in the residence halls, and the proposal received positive student feedback.

Negotiations began over a year ago and have been going well, according to Fugale. Comcast estimates that new equipment at the University will be needed, at a cost of $1 million.

The next step will be to conduct a site survey to look into an underground conduit for to the project before a final assessment can be made.

Comcast came up with their base cost figure after examining have seen the head engine that contains Villanova’s cable equipment.

A key factor in the positive negotiations has been Comcast’s willingness to give Villanova a good deal because of the University’s long partnership with Comcast, which succeeded Adelphia as the main cable service provider on campus.