MyCampusNet connectivity issues persist, winter weather causes power outages

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Photo Credit: Emily Reed | Daily Texan Staff

Students with MyCampusNet Wi-Fi have experienced connectivity issues in West Campus for the past few weeks, while some students have also encountered power outages due to winter weather in parts of West and North Campus since Thursday. 

Shellie Corley, vice president of strategic development at CampusConnect, the company that runs MyCampusNet, said the Wi-Fi issues — which first started Jan. 27 —  were resolved on Feb. 7, according to previous reporting by The Daily Texan. But some students said they had connectivity problems multiple days in the past week.

MyCampusNet did not return multiple requests by the Texan to comment about last week’s outages. Emails from MyCampusNet to residents this week, obtained by the Texan, show connectivity issues were supposed to be resolved by Feb. 10. However, Ryan Schwenn, a radio-television-film sophomore, said he experienced further issues that day. 

The email sent Feb. 10 said issues the day before were caused by a fiber outage that may have caused slower speeds or an internet outage for some users, but service was rerouted to a backup circuit.

Schwenn said the Wi-Fi issues he’s experienced over the past few weeks at The Block on Rio have been frustrating because it interrupted his online classes. 

“The rents in West Campus are so high … (and) you don’t get one of the essential things you need for going to school,” Schwenn said.  “It’s sad because … we (are) required to stick within the leases for this year at least, but we also then had to go virtual for classes, and then we can’t even do that.” 

Sara Kennedy, director of strategic and executive communications for the Office of the Dean of Students, said students with online or hybrid classes who have Wi-Fi issues can fill out an absence notification request through Student Emergency Services. She said students should still notify their professors directly and that decisions on accepting an absence are still up to faculty members. 

Tasha Beretvas, senior vice provost for faculty affairs, said faculty should be flexible and support students who have been dealing with internet outages in West Campus in a letter on Feb. 11. 

Power outages also created issues across Austin when temperatures dropped on Thursday, leaving 49,600 customers without service at the peak of the outage, according to Austin American-Statesman reporter Sarah Asch

Bill Magness, president and CEO of The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said the cold weather is causing record-breaking demand for electricity and urged people to reduce their electricity usage.

UT canceled all classes and campus events through at least Wednesday morning due to the inclement weather.

Schwenn also dealt with an approximately 45-minute power outage due to the cold weather on Thursday. While he said he tries to keep an organized schedule, the outages have made it complicated this semester. 

“It definitely makes what already feels like a very busy semester infinitely more busy because you’re having to make these last-minute decisions, and you’re having to reorganize schedules at the last minute to try and figure out how best to do school,” Schwenn said.