ADT asks FCC for AMPS extension

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

BOCA RATON, Fla.--Saying the planned Feb. 18, 2008 AMPS sunset is a "life safety issue and a challenge to our industry," the largest home security company, ADT, asked the Federal Communications Commission to extend the date of the clause (search "AMPS" online at www.securitysystemsnews.com for our continuing coverage of the sunset).
Phillip McVey, vice president/business operations at ADT, said ADT wanted to take a leadership position on the issue. The request, filed Oct. 4, highlights three points.
First, said McVey, are life-safety considerations. Manufacturers will have trouble producing the number of GSM units that will ultimately be needed to replace the AMPS units and this may adversely affect certain vulnerable members of the population. He cited ADT's "AWARE" program, which provides panic buttons and monitoring services to victims of domestic violence, as a group that "depends on the AMPS cell device."
Second, it will be difficult, McVey said, to find enough licensed individuals available to get all of the new GSM units installed by the deadline. Finally, he noted "while no roll-out of a network is ever going to be perfect," GSM is not working in certain geographical areas, and as the towers come down, the AMPS service that should still be working is "experiencing degradation."
McVey emphasized that cellular carriers have been helpful in remedying these situations as they have arisen. He also emphasized that the home security industry also understands the cellular companies' commercial concern in wanting to phase AMPS out as soon as possible.
He noted that there was no official timeframe for the FCC to respond, but ADT is lining up allies inside the Beltway to aid in this effort. The Alarm Industry Communications Committee filed a request for more time on the sunset earlier this year. The Women's Congressional Caucus and the Firefighter's Caucus have expressed interest in extending the sunset as well.