Now faculty and staff can get quicker and easier access to the World Wide Web and campus electronic mail accounts when at home or away on a business trip.
The campus Information Systems and Technology group has negotiated a deal with Netcom Online Communications, a private Internet provider, to allow faculty, staff and students to access the campus computer system at a discounted cost of $14.95 a month.
Netcom offers users toll-free numbers throughout the country to access the service. Its low user-to-modem ratio should help users avoid often busy campus lines.
"It provides a better level of access, especially for staff and students who do not have access to lines earmarked specifically for faculty use," said David Wasley, director of Data Communications and Network Services.
Wasley said the arrangement with Netcom was made in response to the overwhelming number of calls that come through the general campus modem lines every day. There are about 600 modem lines for calls coming from off campus, with only 256 lines allowing high speed connections.
Earlier this year, 128 high speed modem lines were reserved for the approximately 1,400 faculty campus accounts.
Wasley said departments or units that have high numbers of faculty or staff who travel may want to establish a Netcom account. Several users may access one account, since the service is charged by the hour and not by the number of users.
Wasley said he expects other companies to offer similar programs at a discount. Information Systems and Technology is also testing a prototype service that uses wireless radio instead of a modem, allowing users to access the campus from virtually anywhere.
To sign up for Netcom, look for "Netcom Higher Education Access Program" under "Computing Resources" on the Berkeley Home Page at http://www.Berkeley.edu, and then follow the instructions.