Realignment moves come with installation fees
Personnel moving from one base to another in Germany because of unit moves or base closures might have to pay up to 175 euros — roughly $275 — to get their on-base phone, Internet and cable services moved, according to Telepost Kabel-Service officials.
Allowances will cover some moving costs for personnel moving from Darmstadt to Wiesbaden with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the 66th Military Intelligence Group, and for those moving with the 172nd Infantry Brigade from Schweinfurt to Grafenwöhr.
Allowances range from about $784 for single privates to about $3,540 for married colonels. Still, some troops and family members think the installation fees, which many paid once already to get services installed, are too steep.
Since moving to Darmstadt as a soldier, Chemeka Brown has paid hookup fees on three different occasions — once when she moved into the barracks, then again when the Army refurbished her building and forced her to move. Then she got married and she moved again — this time off post.
“They’re outrageous,” she said of the fees.
However, TKS isn’t responsible for setting the prices on installation fees, said Steffen Stueckmann, the TKS sales manager for the Darmstadt area. In fact, the transfer fees aren’t really TKS fees “because we’re only doing this on behalf of Deutsche Telekom,” he said. Telekom owns the infrastructure and dictates the costs to carriers who use their lines.
Most of the time, moving residential phone service usually costs 59.95 euros, moving DSL service costs 99.95, and moving cable television costs 15.34, according to Stueckmann.
However, TKS is working with customers individually to get them lower hookup rates.
For example, personnel who didn’t get deals on their first hookup might be able to catch a break on their second hookup through TKS, said Gian-Marco Paehler, the shop supervisor in Darmstadt.
When Warrant Officer Bobby Romanczuk, a member of the 66th Military Intelligence Group, moved March 27 to Hainerberg housing area in Wiesbaden from Gross Gerau — a town just outside Darmstadt — he qualified for one of those deals.
“It cost me 60 euro to transfer it over, so I actually got a pretty good deal on it versus what they had originally quoted me,” he said.
And because he went to the office a week before he moved to get his service changed and told them the day he was moving in, they installed his phone and DSL Internet service the same day he moved in.
“It actually is faster than it was in my old place,” he said.
But TKS isn’t the only game in town.
Brown was unaware that she could have gotten service through another provider, but Stueckmann said that is an option.
“Everybody has a choice of freedom. We don’t have a monopoly,” Stueckmann said. People can go off post, find a service provider, and get the service on post, he said.
Spc. Joseph Fairbotham, a member of 66th, recently did that when he moved to the barracks from on-post housing. Now he makes his calls through a cell phone, and for Internet, he and his roommate share a wireless device that works like a cell phone, plugging into the computer and connecting to the Internet through Vodafone.
His connection fee was a paltry 1 euro, and he said it costs him less per month than his service did through TKS.