YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — A recently contracted service will allow some — but not all — of the military community here to make international calls via their computers, officials said this week.

U.S. Forces Korea and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service negotiated a contract for VoIP with LG DACOM, a South Korean Internet provider, after company officials pointed out it was illegal to do business with American providers who hadn’t registered with the Korean government.

Anyone who misses a June 21 “grandfather clause” deadline to sign up with a U.S. provider will be required to use a South Korean company.

LG DACOM cannot provide the service to anyone living off base in South Korea. It also is unable to service Chinhae Naval Base, Camp George or the Hannam Village and Loring Village housing areas in Seoul.

USFK deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant said AAFES is continuing negotiations with LG DACOM in hopes it will be able to service the entire community, regardless of what basic Internet service provider is used. Under the current agreement, customers seeking VoIP service with LG DACOM also must subscribe to its Internet service.

“We would like to be at the point where that can be offered at the same price and carried away and plugged into my apartment downtown,” he said.

The two other major Internet service providers, Korea Telecom and Hanaro, told Stars and Stripes last week that they had no intention of blocking U.S.-based companies.

“The issue that drove USFK to work with LG DACOM to come up with a comparable service package was the threat by LG DACOM — SSRT at the time — to block VoIP services for those living on camps and bases throughout Korea,” Sargeant said. “… (T)here’s been no movement by any others along that same threat area.”

Nonetheless, he said, signing up for service after the deadline with an unregistered company is illegal.

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