YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The cable-television provider for most base residents on mainland Japan is raising its monthly bill for the first time in more than three years.

Effective New Year’s Day, Americable International Japan Inc. will impose a $2 increase to its Tier I and Tier II packages. Rates for premium channels, including The Movie Channel, Showtime, GMA and The Filipino Channel, remain the same.

The change affects viewers at Yokota, Yokosuka Naval Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Sasebo Naval Base and all associated housing areas.

Charles Simon, general manager for Americable at Yokota, said Friday the adjustment is necessary to cover the company’s escalating operational expenses.

“We haven’t had a price increase in over three years,” he said. “But every year, the price of programming goes up; it never goes down. … The cost of programming was getting to be too much, and the cost of delivering it was also increasing. We had to pass a portion of those costs on.”

Customers signed up for Tier I — which features A&E, CNN International, ESPN and Comedy Central — will be charged $37.95 a month. VH1, MTV, BET, Star World, Lifetime and Fox News are among the expanded choices on Tier II, now available for $47.95.

Americable has individual agreements with its premium networks that will keep monthly rates unchanged, Simon said.

Within the last year, Americable tacked on Turner Classic Movies and AXN (Action and Adventure Network) to its existing lineup.

While nothing is imminent, he indicated more cable lineup changes are possible for 2006.

“We’re always looking for new programming. We are always on assignment to look for things we can afford to bring the community at no further cost,” Simon said. “I don’t want to raise people’s expectations, but we certainly like hearing what people would like to see. We’re always open to suggestion.”

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