The world may change for people like George Graves, who takes his laptop computer to the Western Springs library, which has free broadband service. Graves’ household is among an estimated 10 percent of residences in the Chicago market too far from the phone company’s central offices to get DSL broadband.

“We get advertisements for $20 a month DSL, but when I call AT&T, they say it’s not available. This has been going on for two years. It’s exasperating,” said Graves, who doesn’t want cable television-based Internet.

An AT&T spokesman said network upgrades will bring DSL to Graves sometime in the future, but he wouldn’t say when.

For people frustrated by their inability to get broadband Internet connections at the price they want, there may soon be relief in the form of fast wireless Internet connections that will compete with wired connections supplied by phone and cable TV providers.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission will hold an auction of prime radio spectrum currently used for some broadcast television channels. That spectrum will become available in early 2009, when the nation’s analog TV broadcasts will end as stations switch to digital transmission.

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