For students looking for a way to stream Thursday night’s Badger basketball game, a collaboration between Charter and University of Wisconsin’s Division of Information Technology allows students to access TV for free on Apple mobile devices using campus wifi.

The application, Charter U, will function on any iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone and will feature 50 channels, a statement from DoIT and Charter said. The app launched Wednesday.

UW is the first university to have this kind of app, David Devereaux-Weber, a DoIT network consultant said. Charter was looking for a university with a leading edge in technology, and UW was a perfect fit, he said.

“Charter is doing things that nobody’s done with a university before,” Devereaux-Weber said. “They looked at us, we looked at them and we thought this was a good fit.”

The app was brought on by the change in media consumption in today’s mobile-device connected society, Devereaux-Weber said. When more people have mobile devices they want to access entertainment and media on those devices rather than older, traditional devices, he said.

Charter already offers a similar service for residential users who have the same access only within the residence, Devereaux-Weber said.

Charter is able to provide this function to UW because the university is a bulk customer of the cable company, Devereaux-Weber said. All the residence halls are provided with cable from Charter and the student fees help fund the application, he said.

Kim Haas, a Charter spokesperson, said the cable company is focused on innovative ways of delivering value to their customers.

“Charter has a strong employee base in Madison and is proud to have an effective partnership with UW,” Haas said. “Our teams worked hand-in-hand to deliver this solution and we’re all very proud of the end product.”

Having this app available at a university is significant because of the way it connects students with the media they consume and with each other, Devereaux-Weber said. Often, students find out about TV shows or other media or entertainment through social avenues and having this app available makes it possible to increase the social interactivity, he said.

Devereaux-Weber said he expects the popularity of the app to be especially high during times of March Madness or football season, when social interactivity related to Badger sports is high on campus and students share updates on social media.

Students are also more able to connect with the local, national and global community through access to various news channels, Devereaux-Weber said.

“I think in the atmosphere of the university where people are encouraged to stretch their minds and to figure out what’s going on in the world I think it’s a great place to do this,” Devereaux-Weber said.