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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Computer users with a broadband Internet connection at several bases in Japan soon will be able to send and receive unlimited calls to the United States and Canada for a monthly fee.

Americable Japan customers with cable broadband service can use a Motorola Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, telephone device available for purchase at base Americable offices. VoIP service provider Domatic activates the service and arranges automatic monthly billing.

Americable plans to offer the service to base housing residents at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Sasebo Naval Base, Yokota Air Base and Yokosuka Naval Base starting the first week of September, according to a company official.

The VoIP devices send a digitized voice signal via the Internet to a data center in the United States, said John McCorts, Americable’s Sasebo site manager. Domatic then routes calls to any phone number in the United States or Canada, he said.

A $99 activation fee, which includes the VoIP device, is required at registration. If a user relocates, “the device can be used worldwide with broadband connections,” McCorts said.

A monthly fee of $29.99 covers unlimited calls to the United States and Canada and gives the user one U.S. or Canadian telephone number.

A user in Japan can have his or her number use the same area code as family or friends in the United States or Canada, which allows those people to place the equivalent of a local call to the Japan-based user. Additional U.S. or Canadian numbers can be associated with the account for $4.99 per month for each number.

Calls to other countries are billed on a per-minute basis, McCorts said. Rates for calls to various countries are available on Domatic’s Web site, www.domatic.com/military. The list also is to eventually be posted on the Americable site.

Included in the monthly service cost are features including caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, personalized voice mail, call forwarding, call transfer and call return, McCorts said.

He cautioned, however, that the VoIP system will not work for 911 calls or DSN or local calls. But VoIP is entirely Internet-based, so using it will not tie up regular phone lines that can be used for such calls.

Once the VoIP system is installed on the user’s computer, he or she connects any standard telephone to the VoIP device and dials as usual.

“I’m happy we are offering this,” McCorts said. “We’ve used VoIP in our offices for more than a year with no problems and good quality.”


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