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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Morale, Welfare and Recreation department is providing a free alternative way to get wired at three of its locations on the main base.

Using Americable Japan’s broadband and Wi-Fi — computerese for wireless technology — the Harbor View Club’s Puck’s Cafe and patio, the Chief Petty Officer’s Club and the second deck of the Galaxies Nightclub recently began offering the service to patrons using laptops.

Wi-Fi allows computers, personal digital assistants and other wireless devices to connect over the air to local area networks and often is used for Internet access.

According to Harbor View Club manager Kevin Dugan, wireless is the future.

“When I travel, I look for places that have Wi-Fi to get connected,” Dugan said. “It seems like more and more businesses in the United States are offering this service free to customers.”

Club patrons wanting to use their computers previously had to buy an access card for $10 per week, he said.

“We did some research with Americable and came up with a system with a cost we feel we can absorb,” Dugan added.

MWR expects free wireless to benefit both the businesses and the customers.

“It will certainly bring us more business, but that’s not the sole reason we did it,” Dugan said. “The service is one we are able to provide free to the community.”

It’s also led Dugan to notice a few “campers,” or users who aren’t customers, including some who’ve tried to bring in their own refreshments.

“The electrical outlets are now capped,” he added, explaining that the computers must operate on battery power, which limits how long they can be connected to the service.

“But of course, we’d rather not have to police something like this,” he said.

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