We recently increased our bandwidth in response to increased utilization. Fortunately, we also changed pricing structure so that we don’t get penalized for increased use. We used to have a 3Mbps floor and 10Mbps ceiling, which kept out monthly rate down but incurred overages when our monthly 95th percentile use exceeded 3 Mpbs. We managed to negotiate a 12Mbps flat rate (no floor) for the same monthly rate as before. If utilization increases to high levels, we will experience degraded performance rather than seeing surcharges, allowing us to correct the problem without first paying a penalty.
Usage patterns suggest that students online before and after school are using most of the bandwidth. The first graph shows usage spikes at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and the second (you have to read it from right to left) shows increased use over time, except for a slight dip during summer.
On the one hand, we certainly do subsidize the recreational internet habits of our students. On the other hand, students learn best through experience how to manage their time. Adults adopt a teaching stance and hold students accountable for appropriate behavior online. This environment encourages responsible use in a constructivist manner. However, complacency comes easily — we must remember to keep paying attention to student use patterns, individual cases of imbalance, and perhaps most importantly, keep talking about these issues among ourselves and with students.