A slightly spaced-out student sits in class, staring absent-mindedly at their laptop. The professor is talking about an abstract topic, maybe advanced economics or quantum mechanics, but the student has officially tuned out.
Maybe they decide this is the perfect time to catch up on their Netflix favorites. The new season of "Queer Eye" did just premiere.
They drag their cursor to the Netflix icon, make a selection and press play.
That is, as long as they don't go to Purdue.
Purdue University has banned a variety of music, video and gaming services on the school’s Wi-Fi after instructor complaints of the internet being too slow. The limited bandwidth has been blamed on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
“The apps affected are currently Netflix, Hulu, Apple updates, iTunes, Pandora, iHeartRadio, HBO and Steam,” said Jim Bush, a spokesperson for Purdue.
The ban has been in effect since Monday and affects Purdue’s main Wi-Fi system, PAL 3.0. However, a separate wireless stream called PAL-Recreational is still available for streaming in common areas in academic buildings, such as hallways and lounges, and the ban does not affect non-academic buildings such as residence halls.
“I liken it to a carpool lane on a highway,” Bush said. “If you need to do academic-related things, it’s like you’re carpooling, so you get to drive in the lane with less traffic and no trucks.”
For IU’s Wi-Fi system, it’s a different story.
“At IU it’s not a problem,” IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said. “We don’t feel that that’s been an issue with our system of Wi-Fi.”
Carney also said banning streaming services of any kind is not and has not been under consideration at IU.
“I think it's a student's choice how they spend their time,” IU freshman Rylie Hockensmith said. "I agree with it if it's in academic buildings."
Zeb Ehringer, a manager at University Information Technology Services and an IU alumnus, said though he thinks the ban is a good idea it's unlikely IU would ever make that move.
“It would be difficult to monitor at IU because of the way the system is set up,” Ehringer said.
Purdue had been testing the ban in its larger lecture halls since last fall.
While Bush said that there has been limited negative feedback from Purdue’s student body following test runs of the ban, some Purdue students have been taking their frustrations to Twitter.
Elaine Doyle, a junior at Purdue, said she sees more freshmen streaming Netflix in class and that her professors don’t allow students to be on their phones or other distracting devices in the first place.
“I personally think it’s odd, because kids are still going to find ways around it,” said Doyle.
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