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Staff Sgt. Edward Tiglao uses his new cable modem Internet connection to chat online with his family. The broadband connection has brought an exciting change in the quality of life for Marines at Camp Fuji.
Staff Sgt. Edward Tiglao uses his new cable modem Internet connection to chat online with his family. The broadband connection has brought an exciting change in the quality of life for Marines at Camp Fuji. (Jim Schulz / S&S)

CAMP FUJI, Japan — Marines and sailors say life at this isolated Marine Corps base about 60 miles from Tokyo has improved vastly with the availability of Internet service to their rooms.

“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Camp Fuji,” said Staff Sgt. Edward Tiglao, a 28-year-old Marine from Virginia Beach, Va.

“Being so secluded, having to go two hours to all of the other bases, this is what keeps us busy besides sports,” he said.

Marine Corps Community Services began installing cable Internet in dorm rooms at Camp Fuji in February, said Michihiro Shioya, MCCS electric data processing specialist.

Previously, the Internet could be accessed only through duty computers.

So far, 110 customers have signed up for the $40-per-month, unlimited broadband service, Shioya said, adding there are about 300 rooms on Fuji that could be serviced.

Demand drove the project, Shioya said. “It’s a necessary thing for Marines,” he said.

The connection speed is fast, Shioya said, and allows users to view streaming video and Web cams, among other features.

Marines say there are still a few kinks in the new system: “About three or four times a week, you have to reboot, disconnect the cable, to get it to start,” said Marine Lt. Stan Nycek, Camp Fuji’s chaplain.

“Some Marines have a little more trouble than others with that.”

The new service is a huge cost-savings for those who often called home, some say.

Since barracks rooms don’t have phones, Marines must buy calling cards to call long distance.

Cpl. Billy Thomason, 23, said he typically went through two to three calling cards a week — at $20 a pop — to phone his parents in Macon County, Ga.

Thomason now uses e-mail and instant messaging to keep in touch and only buys about two cards a month.

“This is saving me a lot of money,” he said.

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