CSAA sets Jan. 31 deadline for ASAP charter membership

Central stations that pledge will have the first opportunity to connect to the automated network
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

VIENNA, Va.—Thinking about getting on board with the CSAA to take advantage of the new Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) program? To be among the stations at the front of the line, you’d better act soon–a Jan. 31 deadline will separate the haves from the have-nots.

That’s the word from Ed Bonifas, immediate past president of the CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association) and co-chairman of the group’s ASAP committee. To help cover the cost of implementing the program and ensure that technical capacity is not exceeded, the group is asking stations to become ASAP charter members.

“What’s happening is we have 75 alarm companies, including most of the major companies in the country, already committed,” Bonifas said. “We have a lot of work to do to get them connected, to get them tested and to get them operational. We’re worried that, if we continue to take money from charter members (after Jan. 31), we’re going to get behind technically and not be able to respond to everybody well.”

ASAP, which speeds the delivery of alarm notifications to public safety answering points (PSAPs) by providing information via computer instead of a phone call, involves a secure connection through the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets). Nlets links the 50 state police networks with each other and with the FBI and Interpol databases.

Three security companies—Vector Security, UCC and Monitronics—are currently participating in the ASAP-to-PSAP program in three locations: Houston, Richmond, Va., and York County, Va. To expand ASAP, the CSAA is building a central communications server at the Nlets facility in Phoenix, Ariz. Bonifas said the equipment is in place and the software is being tested; he expects the initial three ASAP companies to be switched over to the central server by the end of December.

Bonifas said the CSAA spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to build the server and is now focusing on operating costs. It is asking each ASAP charter member for a three-year pledge, ranging from $1,000 a year for a very small company to $5,000 a year for a national company. Future expenses will be spread among companies based on how much traffic they send to the server.

“What we’ve done with the charter program is also to make sure we raise enough money to cover what we expect to be operating losses for the first three years or so of the program,” he said.

Charter members will have the first opportunity to connect to the ASAP network, which will next be made available to CSAA members who have not pledged. After that, the program will be open to companies not in the association. Bonifas said it could be the end of 2013 before the program is open to non-pledging CSAA members, and 2014 for nonmembers.

“The fastest way to get involved, if you like the program and want to get in, is to join CSAA right now and pledge as a charter member and do it before the end of January,” he said. “While we think that this should be open to all listed central stations, we certainly have a responsibility to service our members first.”