Upgraded Internet coming to Misawa
Stars and Stripes October 27, 2009
TOKYO — By the end of November, the Internet at Misawa Air Base should be on-line all the time, according to officials from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
In the next few weeks, Verizon will install a 70 percent larger circuit in the Tokyo area, according to Andrew Weaver, an assistant vice president with AAFES.
The change will mean all on-base Internet users can expect a constant connection that runs at up to 12 megabits per second.
More importantly, it means the Internet connection should work at that speed during peak hours, no matter how many people are downloading their favorite TV show or playing online video games, Weaver said.
“I would have liked it to be done sooner,” Weaver said in a telephone interview last week from AAFES’ Dallas headquarters. “There’s just a lot of moving pieces.”
The five-year contract with Verizon began last spring, part of an effort to privatize on-base phone service at Air Force bases worldwide, Weaver said. Because the phone lines at Misawa also carry the Internet access — on a line called a digital subscriber line, or DSL — officials had to look for a provider for both services.
Military officials had hoped to use the timing of the change to provide more parity for Internet speed throughout the base, Weaver said. Under the old system, homes with Internet hookups north of the flight line got only 1.5 mbps, compared with 12 mbps on the rest of base.
But when Verizon took over this spring, the increased speed meant more people were downloading more information — especially after dinner and before bedtime, Weaver said. That increased use clogged the system, he said.
Enlarging the circuit took months, Weaver said, because Verizon had to work with multiple Japanese utilities and companies, then order and install the equipment.
In June, all Verizon subscribers were given a free month of Internet, normally a $60.99 charge, Weaver said.
Despite the need for the larger circuit, Verizon has met its contract obligations, Weaver said.