SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Some subscribers to Americable broadband cable Internet service will see a 50 percent increase in connection speed capability this year with no additional charges, the company said.

But the company’s 256 Kbps service is being eliminated, said John McCorts, Americable Japan’s Sasebo manager, leaving 256 Kbps subscribers options including:

¶ Downgrading to half speed — a 128 Kbps connection — for a yearly cost of $419.40, a savings of $201.60 from what they were paying for the faster 256 Kbps connection.

¶ Paying $48 a year more to upgrade to 1.5 Mbps, for a total yearly cost of $669 — $48 more than the $621 per year they’d been paying for the 256 Kbps connection.

Americable also offers discounts for customers who pay for larger blocks of time, such as a year, in advance.

McCorts said not many subscribers choose the 256 Kbps option; subscribers to the speediest service available far outnumber those who initially chose the 256 Kbps or 128 Kbps options. He did not specify how many 256 Kbps subscribers would be affected.

“The subscribers that have 256 Kbps service will be given the choice to either upgrade to 1.5 Mbps or downgrade to 128 Kbps,” he said. “Anyone that has paid for a full year will have his or her bill credited for any overage.”

Broadband cable service at 1.5 Mbps now is to cost $55.75 per month; 128 Kbps service, $34.95 per month, $10 less than the former monthly fee.

The change is to take place Dec. 1 at Sasebo, Atsugi Naval Air Facility, Yokosuka Naval Base and its satellite housing areas and facilities, said McCorts.

“Customers subscribing to our 1 Mbps service at this time will get about a 50 percent improvement in their capability without having to pay more per month or any additional fees,” he said Friday. “Also, the cable modems we are already using are more than capable of handling connections at those rates, and higher.”

Americable Japan, United Service Organizations’ USONet and Japan Enhanced Network Systems (JENS) offer options for Sasebo Naval Base personnel to connect to the Internet, ranging from dial-up modem, Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL), cable broadband and wireless hot spots.

“We’ve ... made adjustments in our programming over time, and we’ve increased our available bandwidth to Tokyo,” McCorts said. “This upgrade is actually something we’ve been working on since April. So we’re doing it, and it’s company-wide.”

Americable plans to maintain 10 percent discounts offered to subscribers of both the “Tier 2” subscription-based lineup of television channels and broadband cable Internet connectivity, he said. Discounts are also offered customers who pay on an annual basis.

Call DSN 252-2172 or 252-2174 for more information about broadband cable Internet connections in Sasebo or call your local offices at other mainland Japan facilities that host Americable Japan.

Getting connected ...

¶ Americable Japan:Broadband cable modem service is available basewide, including the Hario Housing Village. The cost for the current 1 Mbps service, which becomes 1.5 Mbps service in December, is $55.75 per month.

The cost of the 128 Kbps service will drop from $44.95 to $34.95.

The 256 Kbps service will be discontinued on Dec. 1, and those subscribers can choose to upgrade to the 1.5 Mbps level for an additional $4 per month or downgrade to the 128 Kbps service.

Americable offers discounts on broadband cable Internet service to customers also subscribing to their “Tier 2” lineup of television channels. They also offer discounts to those choosing to pay on an annual basis.

¶ USONet:Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) service is available only at the Hario Housing Village. The cost is $48 per month for ADSL service at 1.5 Mbps. The setup fee is $80.

USONet also offers dial-up service for $30 per month.

¶ JENS Corporation:J-Spot wireless service is for laptops brought by users to the Bayside Food Court and other locations on base, such as the Harbor Café, a coffee house and café in the Harbor View Club. Wireless connection can operate in these spots as fast as 11 Mbps, but the speed can fluctuate. The cost is $10 for three days, $20 for seven days and $50 for 30 days.

The local JENS office will provide PCMCIA network cards to put into laptops to serve as the wireless version of a modem.

JENS also offers dial-up service at $35 per month, or $299 per year, with a $50 one-time setup fee.

— Stars and Stripes

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