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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Cable television is returning to Yokota Air Base, along with a new Internet and phone provider, and the question on many people’s minds is how soon and how much will it cost.

With the beginning of a new year, Allied Telesis, the new provider, and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service are now ready to answer those questions.

The details surrounding the new cable television, Internet and phone services that will be offered to Yokota residents have been for the most part finalized, and AAFES has released the information, including the new cable channel lineup, and new service pricing plans.

Internet and phone services are expected to be phased in starting in February, with cable television arriving in May.

Both the cable and Internet pricing plans are divided into four tiers, with tier one being the most basic, and least expensive services.

On the television side of things, the options available range from tier one, which is the free Armed Forces Network and local Japanese channels currently available to base residents, to tier four, which will cost $47.95 a month and include approximately 70 channels.

“It’s important to note that this is only the initial channel lineup,” said Larry Salgado, the AAFES general manager.

While television services are expected to begin in May, Salgado said that by the end of the year, additional channels may be added.

In order to best fit the needs of their Yokota customers, Allied Telesis will conduct a customer survey in mid-2007, to determine what addition channels base residents want.

One important change to the television services is that programs will be broadcast live from the States, as opposed to prerecorded tape delay. Salgado said this means customers will be able to watch the same shows at the same time as viewers in the United States, but added that this may also mean that because of the difference in time zones, customers might have to record certain programs to watch them at a more convenient time.

Internet pricing will range from $24.95 for speeds up to 256 Kbps to a previously unannounced tier four service of speeds up to 10 Mbps for $74.95 per month.

Salgado explained that one major difference from prior Internet service is that customers will have individual dedicated lines providing their Internet, instead of sharing a line with other area users, which he says will allow for faster connection speeds.

Phone services will be divided into two tiers, the first priced at $29.95 a month for basic services, which include unlimited calls to the United States and Canada. The second tier of phone services costs $49.95 a month and will include 100 free international minutes.

One key change to the phone services is residents will be given phone numbers that have stateside area codes. Allied Telesis has purchased several blocks of stateside phone numbers, allowing base residents to pick numbers close to home, which will make it easier and cheaper for people in the States to call them in Japan, he said.

Not every U.S. area code will be available, he said, but customers should be able to find something close by.

Allied Telesis expects to open its Yokota Community Center store by mid-January, Salgado said, which will allow customers to begin signing up for services.

“We plan on doing this transition as smoothly and seamlessly as possible,” Salgado said.

Yokota TV channel lineup

Tier one — Free

AFN and local Japanese channels

Tier two — $37.95

All tier one channels plus FX, Fox Movie Channel, Fox News Channel, Fox Soccer Channel, Fuel TV, National Geographic Channel, LifeTime, Nickelodeon, Big 10 Conference Sports Channel and Trinity Broadcasting Network

Tier three — $41.95

All tier one and two channels plus Fox College Sports (Atlantic, Midwest and Pacific), Fox Reality, Fox Sports Espanol, LifeTime Movie Channel, A&E, Biography Channel, History Channel, History Channel International, 3ABN-Three Angle Broadcasting Network (English and Latino), EWTN-Eternal World Television Network

Tier four — $47.95

All lower tier channels plus E!, Style, The Golf Channel, Versus (formerly the Outdoor Life Network), C-Span, C-Span2, Comedy Central, MTV, CMT, TV Land, VH-1, LifeTime Real Women, Spike TV, G4 TV, BBC America, BBC World News, Animal Planet, TLC, Discovery Health, Discovery Kids, Fit TV, Discovery Times, Discovery Home, Science Channel, Military Channel, Travel Channel, Gospel Music Television


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