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FCC installs Wi-Fi network

The Federal Communications Commission sets up a Wi-Fi network at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., as the agency increases its commitment to the technology.

The Federal Communications Commission is giving visitors of its Washington, D.C., office free wireless Internet access via a recently installed Wi-Fi network.

The FCC is one of the first federal agencies to offer the service and is using networks based on the 802.11a and 802.11b standards. The move illustrates the commission's efforts to make wireless networking and broadband access more prevalent and easier for individuals to access. The FCC has pushed to make unused television broadcast spectrum and standard power outlets available for wireless devices as a means of delivering broadband service to rural areas.

"When you come to the FCC, leave the cords at home," FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell said in a release. "We're embracing the power of Wi-Fi and the freedom and convenience of wireless Internet access it gives to consumers."

Visitors won't be required to provide any personal information to use the network, which will be separate from the FCC's internal network.

The FCC--and specifically its chairman--has promoted consumer adoption of broadband access. Wireless home-networking technology has been viewed by the regulatory body as a significant complement to broadband, because it makes high-speed connections more valuable by allowing multiple consumers to share access wirelessly.