YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Allied Telesis and AAFES won’t have a full premium television package ready until at least July, but additional channels have been tacked on to Yokota’s existing system in a free promotion.

Larry Salgado, the Yokota Army and Air Force Exchange Service general manager, said Friday that pieces from tiers 2 and 3 are among 10 extra channels. All were expected on the air by Saturday.

Thirteen more channels from the same tiers eventually will be part of the customer campaign once upgrades are completed, he said. A full lineup to include Tier 4 won’t be offered for subscription until sometime between July and September.

Allied Telesis had targeted this month for an initial rollout, stating last October it would begin offering a premium cable television package in May.

“We were going to offer Tier 2 and Tier 3 in May and Tier 4 would be available the third quarter of this year,” Salgado said. “We’re offering it now, it’s just going to be a free service, 23 channels for a promotion period.”

AAFES and Allied officials said they don’t have a firm startup date for the next 13 channels but indicated it could happen in the next few weeks. They also said an updated lineup would be provided then.

Scott Clark, vice president of global procurement and operations for Allied Telesis and Yokota’s on-site project manager, said Friday the additional channels are being broadcast as a “community gesture.”

“People have been very patient with us … Otherwise, they’d have to wait a few months,” he said. “We got approval to take our content, pipe it over to AFN and put it on the free tier.”

The company has done considerable infrastructure replacement outside Yokota housing units, Clark said. To build the Internet protocol for Tier 4 cable, it must go into homes and install new wiring for the “triple-play” network of voice, video and data services.

“It’s going to take some time,” he added. “Until we get into it, we don’t really know the challenges we’ll face — and don’t really know how long it’ll take.”

Through surveys, customers are helping shape Tier 4 within the cable package, Salgado said: “The channel lineup constantly changes. It will be improved as we move forward.”

Negotiations also are ongoing with providers to secure licensing agreements and broadcast rights, Clark said. “We know what the most popular channels are. We’re trying very hard to get them but no guarantees. It’s a very long process,” he said.

Premium movie channels such as HBO and Showtime remain possibilities, said Brett McCormick, services business manager for AAFES at Yokota, Camp Zama and Camp Fuji.

“They’re the most difficult to get licensed,” he added. “There are concerns about content. We’re working that now.”

New cable channels to be added soonA look at the new channels being added to the free tier of cable television service at Yokota Air Base, Japan, as part of a promotional campaign by AAFES and Allied Telesis:

CH. 21 Fox News Channel

CH. 22 Services Channel (374th Services Division announcements)

CH. 23 School Channel

CH. 24 Fox Movie Channel

CH. 25 National Geographic

CH. 26 Lifetime

CH. 27 Fox College Sports

CH. 28 Discovery Kids

CH. 29 Lifetime Movie Network

CH. 30 A&E

CH. 31 The Biography Channel

CH. 32 The History Channel

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