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AT&T’s 2G shutdown in Oakland false alarm for industry

Frequency blackout didn’t affect alarm companies, CAA says
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09/05/2012

OAKLAND, Calif.—AT&T’s move to partially disable its 2G service here at the end of August got the attention of California Alarm Association members, but the frequency blackout did not affect operations in the field, according to CAA Executive Director Jerry Lenander.

FCC steps up crackdown on cell jammers

Devices used to block wireless calls can also disrupt alarm signals
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03/23/2012

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission is stepping up enforcement to halt the sale and use of radio jamming devices, which can indiscriminately interfere with cellular 911 calls and wireless signals from alarm devices.

How will new robocalling rules affect your business?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Calling all alarm companies …

Are you robocalling into the void in an attempt to land new business, or to sell new products and services to existing customers? There are new rules that will soon affect you.

Under provisions of an order adopted Feb. 15 by the Federal Communications Commission, express written consent will be required from consumers before a company can place a marketing robocall to a residential or wireless number. The FCC also will require telemarketers to provide an automated “opt out” mechanism during each robocall, and it is sunsetting an important exemption for businesses placing such calls.

The bottom line for the alarm industry is that companies using robocalls to market products and services will no longer be able to do so under the “established business relationship” exception, according to Lou Fiore, chairman of the Alarm Industry Communications Committee. Instead, companies will have to obtain prior customer approval.

The good news for alarm companies is that the AICC petitioned regulators to protect certain industry uses of robocalling, and Fiore said the FCC adopted final rules that did just that.

“Alarm companies that use robocalls to try to reach customers to verify an alarm [after initial attempts by a live operator] should be able to continue such practice because it would appear to qualify as a call made for emergency purposes, and not a call made for a commercial purpose,” Fiore wrote in an online AICC missive. Calls to verify service appointments and to collect debt also will not require prior consent.

Implementation of the new rules is pending publication of approval by the Office of Management and Budget in the Federal Register. The exact time frame for that is uncertain, but it will happen. To determine the extent that it will affect the industry, the AICC is asking companies that use robocalling for marketing purposes to contact Fiore at ltfiore@aol.com by Friday, March 23.

And those political robocalls that we all know and love? They’ll still be allowed. Only seven months till November …

Congress passes NG 911 provision: Is it a threat to PSAPs?

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

At more than 100 pages, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012—H.R. 3630, the so-called "payroll tax" bill that passed Congress last week—is a daunting read for just about anyone outside the Capitol. There's a lot in it that doesn't pertain to tax relief or job creation, including items of great interest to the alarm industry, and now it is law.

A lot was changed during the months-long process of getting the bill through the partisan morass, but one item of concern to the alarm industry survived intact: language defining "Next Generation 911 services" and the possibility of unverified PERS calls going directly to PSAPs. Despite the efforts of Alarm Industry Communications Committee, which worked with the National Emergency Number Association on revisions to the language, H.R. 3630 passed without the requested changes as the bill accelerated through a congressional conference committee.

There is a silver lining, though. The AICC was told by congressmen that the NG 911 provision would only authorize a limited number of demonstration projects, and that it did not authorize the Federal Communications Commission to permit automated unverified calls to go directly to PSAPs.

I'll have more details soon, along with a look at the proposed auction of frequency spectrum that could affect the monitoring industry.

CSAA: Industry should get smart about smart meters

An association spokesman says industry should educate customers about potential problems
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03/21/2011

VIENNA, Va.—Utility companies are installing smart meters on homes and businesses around the nation to help the utilities and their customers better manage power usage. But the devices also appear to have some drawbacks—one of them being possible interference with property owners’ security alarm system.

SSN’s top 10 stories of 2010

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12/22/2010

YARMOUTH, Maine—As 2010 draws to a close the editors at Security Systems News take a look back and see what the most read stories of the year were. What was making the news? What were you most interested in knowing?
Below is a non-sequential, categorized rundown of the top 10 most read stories on our site from Jan. 1 to Dec. 11, followed by a linked top 10 list.

POTS sunset on the horizon?

FCC issues public notice seeking ways to phase out 'relics of a by-gone era'
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01/07/2010

WASHINGTON--Plain-old telephone service--the mainspring of traditional burg and fire alarm signal transmission--could be coming to a mandatory end. The Federal Communications Commission on Dec.