KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Normally downloading a favorite TV show from Apple Inc.’s iTunes takes less than an hour, but lately for those living on base it’s been more like three days.

The popular digital store hasn’t been working properly with Mediatti cable Internet service since at least November. But after months of going back and forth with iTunes, Mediatti says it finally has gotten the company to acknowledge the problem and try to fix it.

The painfully slow download rates are happening because the iTunes server is only allowing bits of information through each second instead of the normal kilobits per second, said Mark Waycaster, who works on Mediatti’s Internet help desk.

He said a couple of customers call each week about the problem.

Waycaster was able to diagnose why there were slow download rates fairly early on, but had a hard time finding someone at iTunes who could help, he said. Once connected to the right folks — Apple’s customer service, in the United States — he was told that it was not an iTunes problem but a Mediatti one.

“Initially they were saying ‘It’s not our fault,’” Waycaster said.

But that didn’t make sense, said the company’s president Blake Williams, because Mediatti’s Internet service works fine with every other site, including bandwidth- chewing sites like YouTube.

Waycaster said he provided iTunes with the exact location of the problem.

Derick Maines, an iTunes spokesman, said, “We are aware of reported slow download times on Okinawa and we are working to find the cause and fix it as soon as possible.”

He said they’ve contacted the handful of Mediatti customers who have reported issues with download times and are awaiting a response.

“To fully diagnose the problem we need to work with the users experiencing these issues and when we hear back we can collect the necessary information to pinpoint the problem and work to solve it wherever the cause might be,” Maines said in an e-mail.

Neither Mediatti nor Apple had a timeline for when the problem might be resolved.

“We’ll stay on top of this and make sure Apple looks at the issues,” Williams said.

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