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Qwest offers Wi-Fi ready DSL modems

The company says the new modem could save customers about $50 on their wireless network set-up costs.

Qwest Communications International on Thursday said it is offering a Wi-Fi modem to new DSL consumers and small-business subscribers.

With the new modem, the company said, its DSL (digital subscriber line) customers will not need a direct Ethernet connection from their wireless-enabled PC to send data to other computers in their home or over the Internet. The Actiontec Wireless DSL Gateway is designed to provide a 54-megabits-per-second wireless connection within a radius of 300 feet of the modem.

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Qwest said customers could save about $50 on their Wi-Fi network set-up costs, because they'll only need to install a wireless network card to work with the modem. Pricing is a key issue not just for consumers but also for DSL providers themselves, which are looking to hold their ground amid tough competition from cable broadband companies.

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Wireless broadband has been catching on. But as a stand-alone service, it still represents only a small fraction of broadband connections.

The Qwest offering can be purchased for $59.99 or rented for a monthly fee of $3.

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