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Commissary Adding Customer Wi-Fi to Stores

Have you ever noticed that even though the commissary has those online coupons, you can't actually access them while shopping in many stores because the cell signal is so incredibly bad? Welcome to my life. Most of the commissaries I've shopped in (I can immediately think of five) have had this problem. What is up with that?

But things are about get easier on the internet-while-shopping front in many commissary stores, Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) officials announced April 2. The agency is rolling out Wi-Fi for shoppers at 105 of its stateside stores where an appropriate Wi-Fi network is already in place.

The rest of the stores, which don't have the capability to support the system, will receive the system sometime in the future after they get an upgrade to their system, although officials said they don't yet have a timeline.

Commissary officials said adding the capability didn't come with a price tag, since it piggy backs onto a set of upgrades that were already scheduled or in process.

The roll out only impacts stateside stores. Sorry, OCONUS folks.

The system sounds like it will work a lot like Wi-Fi connections you may have used somewhere like Starbucks or at a hotel. To use it you'll have to accept the system's terms via a landing page. From there you'll be able to easily use features on commissaries.com (such as the Rewards Card) as well as access the internet.

Need some commissary shopping know how? Check out this handy guide.

"Many of our patrons come to the commissary with their smart phones and tablets. Store Wi-Fi will help them maximize their commissary benefit," Duane Woodfin, a DeCA information technology specialist and wireless expert said in a statement.

Since this is the government we're talking about here, they have an acronym for the system (instead of just, well, "free Wi-Fi") -- CPIMS or "Commissary Patron Internet Mobile System." Officials also warned that users will be blocked from some websites (example: porn. But, um, yeah).

All the 106 stores in the first roll-out are scheduled to have the system up and running by early May. You can see a full list over here.

There is no list of stores that won't be getting it for now, but a few highlights I noticed missing right away include Fort Knox, Ky., Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Gordon, Georgia, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., eight of the ten bases in Florida and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and none of the bases in Oklahoma or Alabama, just to name a few.

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