The University Record, April 17, 1995

Dial-in access will be easier; fee to be assessed for use

Dial-in access will be easier; fee to be assessed for use

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Computer users who dial in to modems at the University will be able to connect more easily by mid-summer, but at a price. All access through dial-in modem will require authentication and authorization, and a new subscription charge will be activated July 1. University faculty, staff and students will see their computing allocation accounts decrease by $4.40 per month under the new system if they subscribe to the service.

The $4.40 fee covers dial-in use of from 10 to 40 hours, depending on the time of day the service is used. Modem use of more than is covered by the $4.40 minimum fee is available at rates of 44 cents per hour at premium times, 22 cents per hour daytime rate, or 11 cents per hour during periods of low use.

Beginning May 1, users must use their uniqname and password to dial in to Michnet, the statewide network that connects to the Internet. Temporarily, a guest login account may be available while other institutions activate identification and password systems.

Perhaps one of the thorniest issues, say Merit officials, is informing users and residents in the state that access, which has been perceived as free, is a service that must be paid for by someone. Merit's member institutions--the public universities in Michigan--have been providing access to the Internet and absorbing the cost.

"Success caught up with us," says Laurence W. Gauthier, director of the Information Technology Division's (ITD) Network Systems group. "The popularity of the Internet and low modem prices have resulted in a situation where we at the University sometimes can't use our own services."

Busy signals plague dial-in modem users, particularly after 5 p.m., even though the modem pool continues to grow and is expected to reach 500 pieces of equipment by June 1, many of which can handle high-speed transmissions of 28.8 kbps (kilobytes per second) or more.

"ITD's intention here, the reason behind our charging for the service, is that we need to provide a service that is affordable," says Jeffrey C. Ogden, Merit's associate director for Michnet, the statewide computer network backbone. "Merit's job is to provide modems and the policies for their use to the 11 institutions that comprise Merit, the consortium of Michigan public universities.

"Users will still be able to use their login ID and password in any dial-in locations throughout the state," he continues. "Through this mechanism, we will be able to continue shared dial-in access that has been unique to the state for many years, while giving priority to those organizations that have contributed equipment or money to support the dial-in enterprise." When fully in place, the system will limit access on some of the lines to U-M users, he says.

Limited list of services and charges in the U-M Computing Environment (UMCE)

Charges are monthly unless otherwise noted.

Individual services per month


Service description

Confer U files


File space for Confer U

E-mail - IMAP mailbox

(Mailstrom or PCPine) for PCPine


3 Mb (megabyte)

IFS and Login required only

The above require a subscription to IFS and either Login Service or Statistics Service.

E-mail - Powertalk for Mac


IFS File Space


5 Mb minimum

LAN Services


Network file server access, standard Internet software

LAN Services


MS Office Suite installed on file server

Login Service


Access to Unix servers to use PCPine, Confer, stored files, Unix utilities, etc. Requires subscription to IFS.



Ability to print to high speed printers at computing site printers

E-mail, QuickMail, BeyondMail


Mailbox, client software

Statistics service


Access to computing cycles to run statistical analyses. Requires subscription to IFS.

Lotus Notes database owner discussion


Maintain database on ITD server

Lotus Notes subscriber


Services still provided at no charge to faculty, staff and students for the 1994-95 year include electronic groups based on class lists, Gopher access software, some software site licenses, Usenet News, Wolverine Access for grades and course schedules, access to the World Wide Web and access to the X.500 online directory.