Ugh. They have fiber and then access it wirelessly? What a waste
Can you convince him to move the modem?
Anyway, you can also do an "sudo apt-get install gnome" and then boot into that when you want a gui by "startx". Note, if you want to have it boot by default not into gnome, you can "sudo update-rc.d -f gdm remove" which will remove the booting into gnome at startup.
^^That's how I had my web server setup.