The United States Marine Corps. announced this month that it will be completing an Internet installation initiative by the end of the year, equipping barracks at bases around the world with wireless service.
As part of an agreement with Marine Corps Non-Appropriated Fund Business and Support Services Division and Army and Air Force Support Services, enlisted barracks will be outfitted with Wi-Fi service by January 2016. Bachelor quarters for soldiers and airmen will also be equipped with the new Wi-Fi connection. Before the project was initiated, Internet service in marine facilities varied from location to location, with many barracks only offering Wi-Fi in common and recreation areas.
During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on quality of life in the military, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green noted that access to the Internet is a necessary part of everyday life.
"[Wi-Fi for Marines is] important because of where we are in society today," said Green. "Today all the students in all the universities have Wi-Fi, most homes have Wi-Fi, so we wanted Marines and our sailors to be up-to-date in technology. Family members living off post that are married and family members living in base housing have Wi-Fi, so we say that single Marines should live at the same standard."
Keeping Marines connected to home
The project will offer Marines a tiered service with a variety of price points and features. A basic package will provide servicemen with speeds of 128 kilobits per second free of charge. For an additional fee, users can opt into a variety of upgraded Internet and TV packages. Hourly, daily and weekly payment options will also be made available.
Once the rollout is complete, Marines who have signed up for accounts will be able to connect to more than 1 million hotspots around the world as well as their barrack locations. There are nearly 500 barracks currently equipped with Wi-Fi service, according to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wesley Nelson, including the majority of facilities within the continental U.S. and Hawaii. Internet capabilities will periodically be installed in the remaining 229 barracks, with all facilities equipped with Wi-Fi by the end of the year.
"Offering a consistent Internet service allows Marines to stay connected to family," Nelson said. "Having one provider Marine Corps-wide eliminates the need to change providers when moving to a new command."