After service gap, Yokota can look to improved cable TV
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Allied Telesis Capital Corp. sought Americable as a subcontractor for base cable television services in an attempt to avoid a gap in services but couldn’t agree on terms, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service said Friday.
Talks since have broken off, according to Larry Salgado, Yokota Exchange’s general manager.
“Allied tried negotiating with Americable initially,” he said. “They wanted to purchase Americable equipment to continue service while they build out their infrastructure.”
After the contract was awarded, Allied tried to subcontract with Americable, he said. “They went back and forth with proposals. At this point, both parties cannot come to any agreement.”
In a Sept. 14 e-mail to Stars and Stripes, Americable International Inc. CEO James Smith confirmed negotiations were under way but indicated talks were deadlocked.
Earlier this month, Allied Telesis signed a 15-year contract with AAFES to become Yokota’s new “triple-play” provider of cable television, Internet and telephone services.
Americable’s 10-year stay at Yokota ends Oct. 25. The company has been told to shut down all services at midnight, leaving only the American Forces Network channels and a few Japanese commercial stations on the air.
Exactly when Allied Telesis can begin delivering video on base is not known but the delay is expected to last several months.
Salgado said Allied Telesis, which is completing negotiations with suppliers and other agents, is to provide a timeline and “competitive” pricing structure and start work in early October.
Internet and telephone service should be operating by early 2007, he said. Allied Telesis will assume voice-delivery functions from the 374th Communications Squadron.
But Salgado disputed Americable’s claim that the new provider would need “at least a year to build out the base” before offering cable television.
That Allied plans to use existing copper lines will “help speed the building time frame,” Salgado said. “Allied will have to build out some of its own fiber-optic infrastructure but because it’s using a lot of what’s available, it’ll speed things up.”
When the system is completed, Yokota will be the only base in Japan with a “triple-play” network of data, voice and video going through a single line.
AAFES stated in a news release that Allied’s services would be offered to each single- family and tower-apartment household as a bundled package. Some added benefits, Salgado said: no connection, reconnection, installation or modem-rental fees, and discounts if customers subscribe to two or more services.
Allied plans to install a fiber-optic link from San Francisco to Tokyo and patch it in to Yokota with a live cable-television feed. A slight adjustment could be made for the time difference, according to Salgado.
“The new technology and services will be a vast improvement over current offerings,” he said. “For the first time, U.S. servicemembers will be able to watch a TV program … at the same time as their friends back home.”
An Allied display previewing the new features will open in early November in Yokota’s community center, the news release stated.
The Allied package
Once completed sometime in 2007, the IP “triple-play” project by Allied Telesis will deliver cable television, Internet and telephone services to homes, hospitals, barracks, schools and commercial businesses at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Offerings will include:
¶ Sixty or more TV channels broadcasting in “real time” with live, worldwide content.
¶ Video on demand with DVR capability to watch and record content when convenient for viewers.
Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, telephone service with E911 — portable, stateside phone numbers and quick response to emergencies.
¶ High-speed Internet access with connection speeds up to 3 megabytes, suitable for online gaming, viewing streaming media and downloading.
Source: Army and Air Force Exchange Service
— Vince Little