Allied Telesis lays out service roadmap for Yokota
October 14, 2006
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Allied Telesis Capital Corp., Yokota’s next provider of phone, cable television and Internet links, plans to have its Internet and telephone services running in early January and to begin offering a cable television package by May, company representatives said Thursday.
For the first time, the company Thursday evening unveiled a pricing structure and service levels for phone and Internet services available within its integrated “triple-play” network.
Meeting with residents in the base theater, Allied Telesis and base officials outlined some details within the 15-year deal it signed in September with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
Chip Hawkins, Allied Telesis project manager, said cable fees aren’t set because negotiations continue with content providers but indicated they’d be the same or perhaps lower than those charged by outgoing contractor Americable.
The lineup will offer three tiers of pricing for television services, from free basic channels to about 60 channels — at top-tier prices — broadcasting in live feeds through a San Francisco-based fiber-optic link. For an added cost, viewers may pick up a digital video recorder to watch programs whenever convenient, to offset the time difference.
High-speed Internet access with connection speeds up to 3 megabits per second will be offered, again at graduated prices.
Base residents likely will notice the biggest change in the new telephone service. The 227 prefix in the current seven-digit DSN format will be replaced by U.S. numbers with area codes, allowing people free unlimited calls to America, Canada and Yokota under the basic $29.95 monthly plan, according to Allied Telesis.
International calling rates apply to other countries, Hawkins said. For $20 more per month, residents will receive 100 minutes of free calls to specified non-U.S. destinations.
Hawkins said Allied Telesis is working with the 374th Communications Squadron to devise dialing procedures for reaching DSN lines around Yokota, cell phones and other off-base numbers.
He said the company is developing a Web site that will post updates, let customers register for U.S. numbers and give them a forum in which they can submit their requests for channels to be included in the cable TV lineup.
The company will open a business office in Building 4084 near AAFES headquarters and also open a store in the Yokota Community Center the first week of December, Hawkins said.
He said Allied Telesis is assembling subcontractors and ordering materials to complete its fiber-optic infrastructure.
Americable’s 10-year franchise agreement with Yokota ends Oct. 25. The company has been told to shut down all services at midnight, leaving on the air only the American Forces Network, Commander’s Access Channel, Services channel and a handful of Japanese commercial stations.
But Americable has yet to sign a transition agreement with Yokota, according to Col. Lee Wyatt, the 374th Mission Support Group commander. He said Thursday the base still is negotiating terms.
The U.S. government owns the infrastructure that will allow the base to maintain basic cable in the interim, Wyatt added.
He said the original contract with Americable allowed for only one extension. In April, the longtime provider was granted a six-month stay.