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The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The state of COCC’s internet and updates to its fiber

Students+navigated+a+technological+delay+at+the+Barber+Library+on+COCCs+Bend+campus.
Hannah Evenson
Students navigated a technological delay at the Barber Library on COCC’s Bend campus.

In the digital age, the discussion around internet speeds at the Central Oregon Community College Bend campus has become increasingly nuanced. Students and faculty seem to be engaged in an ongoing debate over the sufficiency of the current internet infrastructure. Are the existing internet speeds meeting the needs of the COCC community? And was there an update to existing fiber networks?

On top of COCC’s network speeds, matters were made worse on November 29, 2023, when, among finals for many classes, the entire campus experienced a complete internet outage. This blackout ultimately led to missed assignments, extended deadlines and no ability for interaction with the school’s Canvas program, which is largely responsible for students and teachers communicating beyond the in-person classroom.

Laura Boehme, COCC’s Chief Information/Human Resources Officer gave her take on the situation.

According to Boehme, the size of the fiber network cables outside of the Wickiup residence hall was increased, which was meant to increase the bandwidth to the building.

“We always monitor the rest of campus and its buildings, both our wired internet and also our wifi for traffic, and then adjust our bandwidth accordingly based on what the needs appear to be. We seem to be very much meeting the requirements of the campus. We don’t have tickets or complaints that the performance on our wifi in our buildings is not satisfactory, in fact, people can do everything they want to do,” said Boehme.

Boehme then went on to discuss the recent blackout, saying, “We had some anomaly in our network that we were trying to identify. So in an abundance of caution, we took down systems to make sure we could identify what it was. We were not hacked, no data was accessed. It was not a virus. It was just an anomaly that we were addressing to make sure it wasn’t something, and it turned out to be nothing.”

Wendy Patton, an employee of The COCC Foundation said that while she has been at this campus for ten months, her experience has been positive.

COCC experienced technological difficulties as the tech server room remained offline. The IT team worked to restore services by the next morning. (Hannah Evenson)

“Today is kind of an odd thing. Since I’ve been here, this has never happened, and I think the IT department is scrambling and trying to keep communication open as best they can. But overall, I think the college does try to make sure everything is accessible to our students to make their learning opportunities as great as can be,” added Patton.

But not everyone shares such a positive perspective. Justin Jory, a professor of writing in the Humanities Department who has taught at other colleges before his move to Central Oregon, offered a different opinion.

“As far as the current state of campus Wi-Fi, I haven’t experienced any problems with Wi-Fi speeds particularly. But I came from Salt Lake City Community College, and I was there for a decade… The state of internet connectivity on campus reminds me of classrooms I was teaching in 2008 at the University of Colorado.”

Jory then addressed the recent outage.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this happen in a year and a half. I have thought several times today about the IT department. They’re much smaller than my other campus, which was much bigger, but I do feel like in general that I don’t know if this would happen at another institution. Maybe it does all the time, but I’ve never experienced it. So just fitting into the larger picture, we need updates. We need to push forward.”

As COCC navigates internet connectivity, the varied perspectives underscore the importance of addressing the needs of the community.

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About the Contributors
Marco Mazariegos, Contributor
Marco Mazariegos is a contributor to The Broadside. He's gained experience in journalism through his operation of the YouTube channel The Speakeasy.
Hannah Evenson, Contributor
Hannah Evenson is a contributor to the Broadside. This is her first year at COCC.

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