Yokota personnel told to stop autopayment to Americable
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Personnel with automatic paycheck deductions for Americable payments should consider stopping that allotment immediately ahead of the cable television and broadband Internet provider’s Oct. 25 departure, according to a “Yokota All” e-mail distributed by the base finance office.
Officials said Air Force members must visit the finance office, in Building 314, Room 132, for assistance because the paycheck allocation can’t be discontinued using the myPay Web site. Afterward, subscribers may need to visit the Americable office to pay fees for the period between Oct. 1 and the termination date, the e-mail states.
Earlier this month, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service finalized a deal with Allied Telesis to integrate cable television, telephone and Internet services into a “triple-play” package for base customers. Availability isn’t expected until sometime in 2007.
Capt. Warren Comer, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman, said Friday the new provider might offer a more detailed time line in October after completing a technical assessment. Allied Telesis could not reach an agreement for purchase of Americable-owned equipment and plans to install its own fiber-optic network and infrastructure.
It’s not known exactly how long the service gap at Yokota may last, AAFES and base officials say.
Americable monthly bills sent to Yokota customers this week included final notices, said James Smith, president and CEO of Americable International Inc.
He said the base contracting office and command has instructed the company to shut down all services on Yokota at midnight Oct. 25. The free tier of cable service — with a lineup of only the American Forces Network channels and a few Japanese commercial stations — will remain.
“Americable is disappointed that, in spite of our recent success in having our debarment lifted, the base and AAFES have no interest in extending our contract or otherwise allowing Americable to continue to compete to provide services at Yokota,” the notice reads. “Americable feels that a choice for these essential services would be in the best interest of the base personnel and would also guarantee continuity of service.”
The Department of Defense recently ended a two-year restriction that banned Americable from seeking new business with the government. The debarment stemmed from an Americable-affiliated comptroller’s federal fraud conviction in 2004. Base and Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials elected not to extend Americable’s contract, citing the inability to negotiate with the company during the debarment among the reasons for the decision.
Citing Americable’s construction experience from a decade ago, Smith said he believes Allied Telesis will need “at least a year to build out the base” and begin offering services.
The October bill will reflect the reduced-service period, according to the notice. After Oct. 25, Americable’s office will remain open for at least 60 days to process returned modems and resolve final billing issues.
Contact Yokota’s finance office at DSN 225-7825 for more information about ending paycheck allotments.