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Byline: MIKE ANGELL
Not long ago, fast Internet access was tough to get and expensive. Now broadband is nearly as free as the air.
Credit the low-cost, short-range wireless technology known as Wi-Fi. In terms of hype and use, Wi-Fi leads in getting broadband outside homes and offices.
Wi-Fi -- short for wireless fidelity -- will last for some time, thanks to the number of networks in place. And Wi-Fi will find new uses, such as carrying low-cost phones calls.
But Wi-Fi has not been a big moneymaker for the telecom industry. So carriers plan to offer newer wireless networks hoping customers who are hooked on Wi-Fi will pay more to use other networks.
"Customers shouldn't even care what network they are on," said Wes Dittmer, who runs Sprint's Wi-Fi service. "They should just get access to whatever service they want regardless …