From staff reports

University of Tennessee-Martin students can access the ''information
highway'' from dormitories and apartments next semester, UTM officials said
Wednesday.

UT-Martin is upgrading its data, cable and telephone systems this summer,
routing each through a single conduit system.

Fiber optics will be used for data, but copper and coaxial cable will still
be used for telephone services and cable television, said Mike Abney of
UTM's computer center.

The $340,000 annual cost will be underwritten with $75,000 paid by the
administration, $20 more per semester in dormitory fees and a $10 monthly
increase in university apartment fees.

UTM officials said student maintenance fees also will be raised $10 per
semester to help pay for the project.

Every dormitory room and apartment will have outlets for computers and
cable TV.

With fiber, a thin strand of glass, students in dormitories and university
apartments no longer have to use telephone lines to connect to computer
programs on campus, said Bob Bradley of the UTM computer center.

Fiber optics will provide access to programs available on campus and around
the world. Bradley said students can access a list of assignments or other
information from a professor.

Students also will be able to access Internet, a global network of
computers connecting educational institutions, governments and some
commercial businesses, he said.

''Other universities have a fiber optics system connecting their academic
buildings, but few have connected the dorm rooms and apartments,'' Abney
said.