Students who have developed an addiction to “The Daily Show” will be able to receive their daily fix for free — at least until the end of the school year.
After continuing negotiations, Yale officials have struck a deal with cable provider Comcast to allow students to continue receiving free access to an extended menu of television channels — including TNT, USA, the Food Network and Comedy Central, the network that carries “The Daily Show” — until the end of the academic year. The deal is a welcome surprise for students, as Yale officials have said on several occasions that the extended service would be cut off much sooner.
Yale Information Technology Services asked Comcast to extend service because students had grown accustomed to the additional channels — which were added last October, when Comcast remapped its channel lineup — and did not want their service disrupted, ITS Network Services Director Joe Paolillo said.
“They were quite understanding and quite flexible,” Paolillo said. “We pushed a little so that we could get the greatest level of service for Yale. They were very cooperative.”
Comcast informed University officials in the fall that, due to a change in the cable company’s nationwide channel lineup, the cable news channels CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Fox News would no longer be available under the basic cable plan that all on-campus students receive for free. The only way Comcast could provide the news channels would be to upgrade all students to the extended package, Comcast spokesman Rob Wilson said.
Since it took Comcast longer than expected to make the changes, officials from ITS asked the cable provider to extend service, Paolillo said.
Wilson said Comcast will do work over the summer on campus cable lines so that students can have access to the cable news channels in addition to the basic service channels. Unlike Yale, most Connecticut residents who subscribe to basic cable do not receive cable news channels, he said. When students return to campus in the fall, they will lose access to the additional channels they currently receive unless they pay Comcast a monthly upgrade fee.
While a number of Yalies said they appreciate the recent extension, some students said they think the University should continue to provide the extra channels for free.
“Sure, television is distracting, but I think as Yale students we’re entitled to a little recreation every now and again, and considering that schools such as USC get free HBO, I don’t understand why we shouldn’t get extended cable,” Afua Annor ’09 said. “I mean, the number of meal swipes I don’t use far exceeds the cost of cable per month.”
Annor said she will likely purchase an extended cable package in the fall.
Olivia Haesloop ’06 said the free extended cable has encouraged her to watch more television than she had during her previous years at Yale.
“I didn’t watch too much until we got the extended cable,” Haesloop said. “It opened me up to the world of ‘Project Runway.'”
But Jay Schweikert ’08 said he only watches the major networks and CNN and will not miss the extra channels.
“I very rarely watch shows on extended cable,” Schweikert said.
Extended cable will be offered to students next year for $40 per month.