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Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 14:58:10 +0900 (JST)
To: XXXXXXX.com
From: Phil Pelfrey <pacinet@taogate.aafes.com>
Reply-To: pacinet@taogate.aafes.com
Subject: AAFES Responds

Thank you all for your responses to my letter regarding the extension
of our contract for Internet service on military installations within
AAFES PACRIM.  Only three percent of our customers requested that we
resolicit at this time.  Based on the fact that 97 percent of our
Internet customers want us to continue with AT&T Jens, we are
proceeding in that direction.

[Webmaster's note:  If you read www.gorio.com/discuss/, then you know that people have already voiced concerns regarding Mr. Pelphrey's statement regarding "97 percent of our internet customers want us to continue with AT&T Jens."  Very misleading, Mr. Pelphrey.  You mean you got back 100% feedback from ALL of Jens' customers??  And only 3% were for resolitictating?  Or do you mean that 97% of the people responding wanted us to continue your contract with Jens?  I think you took those who did not answer regarding the extension and heap them in the "continue" category.  What manipulation.]

You brought several areas of concern to my attention.  We have been
working on many of these concerns, but your comments were very helpful
in directing us in where we should focus our efforts to improve the
areas of service most important to you.  I would like to address the
questions that were commonly asked.

Q: WHY DON'T YOU PROVIDE UNLIMITED ACCESS?
A: When AT&T Internet Access Service was initially launched, our
   customers received unlimited access.  However, due to a combination
   of factors, including 1) a small number of customers remaining
   logged on to the network for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and
   2) high demand for limited infrastructure resources, we determined
   that we needed to develop an alternate plan.  The result, Value
   Base Pricing, allowed us to serve more customers without taxing the
   network or the available resources.  It also allowed a majority of
   our customers to reduce their expenses.  The bottom line, however,
   is that the infrastructure does not allow high-demand, unlimited
   access.  Although there are other Internet services available that
   do offer unlimited access, they do not offer customers toll-free
   connections.

[Webmaster's note:

1) A small number of customers remained logged on to the network for 24 hours a day.....and you punish the whole contingent of servicemembers and their families by going the non-flatrate route.  I think you guys were just thinking of fattening your wallets with dead presidents.  Come up with some legalese for your customers stating that they CANNOT maintain a "permanent connect."  Also, come up with some software that boots people off at a set time, to get rid of idle accounts logged on for 24 hours a day.....any ISP worth it's salt has software like that, except AT&T Jens.

2) The value base pricing scheme sucks.  You are monopolizing us because you know you are vital to our needs to link with the internet at a price where we won't have to donate an extremity.  You know you can get the highest amount of money from us since you are the only ISP within Japan that will support servicemembers without making them pay a toll.  BTW, we ARE paying a toll.....the toll is $30/month for 90 hours.  It all adds up to the same crap.  Ordinarilly, I wouldn't complain, since not paying a toll is a very good deal, but we are still limited to 90 hours, and the customer service is in a vacuum.]

Q: WHY DOESN'T THE SYSTEM SUPPORT 56K?
A: There are a limited number of lines available that support 56K and,
   unfortunately, we do not have a sufficient number of T-1 lines on
   most installations to expand.  We have implemented alternative
   solutions that include the use of analog lines, but these analog
   lines do not support 56K connections.  Please keep in mind that
   factors such as your modem, base telephone lines, and the port you
   connect to will also affect your connection speed.

[Webmaster's note:  I've kept in mind that my modem, what port I connect to, and the base phone lines dictate what type of connect I will have.  But, 80% of the time, I'm at either 19kbps or 28.8kbps.  Every planet and star alignment, I get 31.2kbps.  Sounds abnormal to me.  It's ridiculous that the internet standard is now 56K and you guys cannot support it.  Please don't give us the excuse that you're doing the best you can with the equipment you have in a foreign country.  Japan is NOT a 3rd-world country.  It's a country that creates leading technology.]

Q: WHY AREN'T PRICES COMPETITIVE WITH CONUS?
A: The costs of providing Internet access in an overseas environment
   are substantially higher than in CONUS.  Costs to transport data
   from one country to another are much higher than the costs of
   transporting data within the same country.  In addition, there are
   the costs of providing you toll-free access, procuring and
   installing the same sets of equipment at multiple sites, leasing
   telephone lines, and maintaining and upgrading the system.

[Webmaster's note:  Why is it high?  Give us numbers.  Why is the cost higher here when you are pushing raw data across phone lines they same way you do in the states?  I assume it's the same as the U.S.  Why would data transfer be any different here?  In addition, you are providing us toll-free access, but at the slow rate of data transfer, we use up our 90 hrs a whole lot quicker.  You claim you upgrade the system also.  Like what?  You surely do not upgrade your lines.....you said that yourself in the above paragraph.  No support for 56K.  You can buy analog lines but they don't support 56K.....uhmmm....ok.]

Q: WHY CAN'T I VERIFY MY USAGE?
A: AT&T Jens is currently developing the program that will allow you
   to verify your usage.  When this program is available, tentatively
   scheduled for the end of April, you will be notified of its
   availability and how to access it.

[Webmaster's note: MESSAGE TO THE MASSES, you can use netMedic, by Vital Signs.  It is shareware that can be upgraded to fullware.  I use it to monitor my internet time usage.]

Q: WHY DO I HAVE TO GO IN TO THE SHOP TO PAY MY BILL?
A: You have the option of mailing your payments in to AT&T.  In the
   fall of last year, AAFES and AT&T Jens managers worked to
   coordinate mail-in sites.  Please contact your local Surf Shop or
   Personal Telecommunications Center for the address:

Kadena Air Base  632-7657
Misawa Air Base  222-8180
Yokota Air Base  225-4164
Camp Zama  263-7868
Osan Air Base  784-1894
Kunsan Air Base  782-7392

[Webmaster's note:  If I'm not mistaken, bills can be paid by credit card also.]

Q: WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET A PERSONAL WEB PAGE?
A: AT&T has been working on this, and we hope to have it available
   within 60 to 90 days.

[Webmaster's note:  My advice, don't waste your time with AT&T Jens' web page service.  If they leave you high and dry when it comes to customer service, then how do you think they'll leave you when you have page problems?  If you have an extensive page like I do, you will be pissed when something goes wrong with your pages and can't access them through some fault of Jens'.  There are plenty of free web services out there that are 100 times more competent than AT&T Jens.  Just my opinion.  I've also heard that they've been talking about web pages for over 2 years!  I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this service.]

Q: WHAT ABOUT THE AAFES/MCI CONTRACT THAT WAS JUST ANNOUNCED?
A: The AAFES news release was not very clear regarding the Internet
   service portion of the MCI contract.  MCI will offer only Internet
   access that allows customers to plug into a phone jack and use
   their lap top computers.  It will not provide in-home Internet
   access service.

[Webmaster's note:  Anyone know exactly why MCI Worldcom didn't embrace the in-home internet access service?]

Q: HAVE YOU LOOKED INTO CABLE SERVICE?
A: We have looked into this and we are still reviewing options in both
   cable service and satellite Internet service.

[Webmaster's note: Hopefully, as I found out at Greg Williams' page, Americable will provide cable internet access to Japan.  I hear they have it or are talking about going cable in Okinawa.  Americable, please don't disregard the mainland.  Also, there are other bases besides Yokota and Yokosuka....like Camp Zama, Sagami Depot and Sagamihara Housing Area, amongst others (North Dock, Misawa...).  Let's get ALL of Japan servicemembers in on this one!]

Again, thanks to everyone who provided their comments on the Internet
service.  We've taken a hard look at all the comments and we have
responded individually to some of you.  I encourage you to let us know
when you have service problems of any kind, whether it's regarding
Internet or any other AAFES activity.  I've listed contact information
for the AAFES General Manager in your area:

AAFES GENERAL MANAGERS   PHONE NUMBER/E-MAIL

Okinawa  Steve Mitchell  645-7709/mitchells@taogate.aafes.com
Misawa  George Bass  222-7410/bass@taogate.aafes.com
Yokota  Phil Martin  225-3700/martinp@taogate.aafes.com
Camp Zama Rick Harpham  263-3775/harpham@taogate.aafes.com
Osan  Glenn Schubert  764-4710/schubert@taogate.aafes.com
Kunsan  Glenn Schubert  764-4710/schubert@taogate.aafes.com

If you give our managers the opportunity, I think you'll be pleased
with their efforts to improve our service to you.  If that fails, then
please contact me or my staff at our PACRIM headquarters at Camp Lester,
Okinawa.  Please feel free to contact me at DSN 645-7716 if you have
any further questions.

[Webmaster's note:  I've tried the management at Zama but they were no help.  A few people who have true expertise in this type of environment would help....hint hint.  I've also heard that you are very notorious for not being able to be contacted.  Excellent support, you guys really set a standard.]

Sincerely,
 
 

Phil Pelfrey
Senior Vice President
AAFES PACRIM



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Last Updated on 4/7/99
By Ron Sinclair
Email: sinclair@zma.attmil.ne.jp