WSU Housing residents face cable outage

Outage may last until mid-August; residents lose access to cable, HBO GO, streaming



WSU Housing residents lost access to cable, HBO GO and streaming services on June 30. WSU Housing sent out an email to residents briefing them about the situation, but some say they never received that email.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

On-campus residents have been experiencing a cable outage since June 30. They do not have cable, HBO GO or streaming TV. However, they do have access to PAC-12 streaming because it is independent of the cable contract.

WSU Housing is transitioning to a new cable service provider and expected it to be a smooth transition, so customers were not supposed to notice, said Meg Autrey, associate director of WSU Housing and Conference Services.

When WSU Housing realized there was an outage soon after it occurred, Autrey said she sent on-campus residents a WSU Portal message, which is the way WSU Housing notifies people.

WSU Housing was informed that residents did not receive that message, she said. 

Jose Riera, doctoral student with a focus in second language education, was one of the residents who did not see it. On June 30, he said he planned to watch some shows that he had recorded, but he got a message stating he was no longer subscribed to Philo, the cable provider.

He said he reported the outage and called HBO GO and Philo to find out what was wrong. The email he received from WSU Housing stated what the issue was and that they hoped the outage would end soon.

“Well, it’s been a week, and we don’t have that. I know I’m not alone,” Riera said last Monday. “There’s other people out here [in Yakama Village] that have kids and are hoping to watch something.”

Especially with social distancing in place, he said, there are few activities that people can still safely participate in, which is another reason he is bothered with the cable outage.

“If they had been planning this [all] along, why didn’t they notify any of the renters that there was a planned conversion to a new provider so at least we could make arrangements?” Riera said. “In my case, I lost over 18 recordings, recorded movies and games that I had wanted to watch.”

WSU Housing sent an email to residents on Wednesday, stating they anticipate the outage will last until Aug. 15.

The email also stated that people living in residence halls and on-campus apartments will see a $15 decrease in the charges on their housing and dining account, Autrey said. Residents should see their rent decreased by $15 for the month of July or a $15 adjustment to their summer charges to compensate for the cable outage.

This impacts over 700 housing contracts that have been signed for July. However, one contract does not necessarily equal one person, she said. For instance, in family apartments, there is typically one contract per unit.

Initially, there was not a lot of information given, Riera said. From June 30 to July 8, he thought he would still have to pay for cable he was not getting, which he was not happy about.

Residents pay $6.85 per month for cable, so WSU Housing is giving residents back more money than what they pay for cable because they realize this is inconvenient for residents and it was unanticipated, Autrey said.

If the cable outage lasts until August, residents will see another decrease in rent or summer charges, but that amount of money is dependent on how long the outage lasts, she said.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll have service up sooner than the 15th of August,” Autrey said. “Unfortunately, that timeline is outside of my control.”