Despite residents paying normal rates for internet use, Wi-Fi at Uni Flats is provided by the University network, which is subject to “draconian” restrictions, in the words of former student Anton Hovius.
During University ‘working hours’ (Monday to Friday 8.30am-12pm, 2pm-5pm), the University Wi-Fi blocks auction sites, dating sites, gambling sites and game sites. Sites that contain pornographic or objectionable material are completely blocked as far as is practicable.
After these internet restrictions were introduced in 2011, off-campus network traffic on the University network decreased by 32% in a year.
Uni Flats residents said not being able to stream movies was a common cause of frustration. One Uni Flats resident told Critic “Yeah . . . I know you can’t use Pornhub . . . that’s been tried and tested”. Another student had no knowledge of any restrictions saying, “Nah, I watch porn. I’ve never had any problems.” They later contacted Critic to say they were actually using a private browser.
Overall, current students weren’t as outraged as former Otago Uni student Anton Hovius who, back in 2014, slammed the University for its “draconian” internet usage policies, deeming them an unfair restriction on student freedom.
He ran for Colleges Officer in 2015, campaigning to reform the Uni’s internet policies for Halls of Residences, saying "it doesn't make sense when you are paying $340 bucks a week to have the university interfering with what you are doing in your private time". Uni Flats residents pay $160 a week but are subject to the same internet restrictions.