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NAPLES, Italy — U.S. sailors and their families stationed at Sigonella have a chance to decide whether the base should sign on for upgraded Internet services for private users, officials said.

Officials at the Navy base in Sicily are soliciting members for input, gauging whether Internet customers want to upgrade service from 2 megabytes of bandwidth to 20 megabytes with additional costs, base spokesman Lt. j.g. Matt Knight said.

The Italian provider, Telecom Italia, informed base officials that by this summer it would be able to offer users the upgraded service.

Currently, the base’s 1,400 ADSL subscribers pay $34 a month. The upgrade — which would require new hardware — would cost $46 a month. Telecom Italia provides the Internet service for subscribers at Naval Air Station Sigonella I and II, and the housing units of Marinai and Mineo.

An all-hands message sent Wednesday to Sigonella-based personnel was "slightly skewed," Knight said, when it announced that a decision on the upgrades — and subsequent nonelective price jump — already had been made.

Officials want users’ inputs because it’s an all-or-nothing plan, Knight said. Customers will not be able to select individually whether to opt for the cheaper 2 MB bandwidth over 20 MB.

Base personnel should e-mail input to: bcoweb@nassig.sicily.navy.mil.

The upgrade could give Internet users webcam capabilities, the ability to view certain television programs and full-streaming video, and the ability to operate multiple Internet functions simultaneously, Knight said. Some of those services are doable with 2 MB, "but not without some serious lag time," he said.

Along with the monthly price hike would come an added activation fee, he said. Current Telecom Italia customers, who already paid a $66 activation fee, would have to pay another, one-time activation fee of $33 to cover the upgraded hardware costs, Knight said. New customers would be charged the $66 activation fee.


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