After months of waiting, students still have no access to the Xfinity boxes that Comcast promised St. Michael’s College early last semester. These boxes, which were originally to be sold for $40 at the campus bookstore, would allow students to watch all of the same content they could normally access online, independent of wifi.
“Every timeframe Comcast gave us has come and gone,” said assistant director of technology services Erik Lightbody, adding that Comcast told him the reason for the delay was because the boxes were under redesign and then later failed during testing. Lightbody has since lost contact with the company. “I have no idea when the boxes are coming in.”
When purchased, the boxes would be installed in residential areas and deliver all the basic cable options to students. Owners could purchase additional channels through their student accounts on Xfinity.
“There were essentially a lot of great reasons why we moved to Comcast but the cost is certainly the most important,” Lightbody explained. “Also, some students have told us that they don’t even watch TV, so it didn’t make sense to invest in a service that not everyone was using.”
Last semester, students had serious issues with the buffering of Xfinity On Campus due to the configuration of the school wifi system. However, two engineers from Comcast came to St. Michael’s over winter break to help solve the issue. All access points across campus were upgraded to the newest operating system. Lightbody said that no students have come to the helpdesk with complaints yet this semester.
The frustration over the boxes is apparent in some students as well. “Xfinity On Campus has run a little better [this semester], but boxes would improve the overall accessibility of the service,” said Kayce Venezia, ’17. “Unless they install the boxes in each room, there’s no point of adding Xfinity.”