AICC to file request for limited AMPS break

Sunday, July 1, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C.--While the Federal Communications Commission has yet to issue a decision on the request for an extension of the February 2008 sunset, it now appears that the best the alarm industry can hope for is an extension of more limited duration and scope than the original request for a two-year nationwide extension.
In May, John Prendergast, attorney for the AICC, filed an ex parte filing to the FCC that would basically "shrink the time and scope of the requested extension," he said.
Prendergast's filing follows a May 17 meeting here between officials from ADT, Honeywell and the Alarm Industry Communications Council and FCC chairman Kevin Martin. The FCC has not voted on the extension, but Martin has circulated his opinion that the extension request be denied.
In addition, some members of Congress recently voiced their opposition to the AMPS sunset extension. Twenty-four members of the House Commerce Committee signed a letter to the FCC saying that the extension request should be denied.
Prendergast said the AICC is actively urging dealers to assume that there will be no extension and to give the replacement of AMPS equipment top priority. "In light of the USA Today article indicating that the FCC is poised to deny the requested two-year extension," he said, "and the letter from several members of the Commerce Committee urging the FCC to proceed with the AMPS sunset on schedule, AICC continues to urge all alarm dealers to proceed accordingly by doing everything possible to replace AMPS units by the scheduled February 2008 sunset date."
Lou Fiore of the Central Station Alarm Association said, "Affected alarm dealers must adjust their plans for converting AMPS customers to digital accordingly. Among your choices for hardware are, in alphabetical order: AES, DSC, Honeywell, Telular and Uplink. The FCC staff is urging alarm dealers to prioritize their AMPS conversions so that government installations, domestic abuse victims, and those relying on AMPS as their sole link to the central station are replaced first."
Fiore said the industry believes that 500,000 to 600,000 AMPS alarm radios may still be "in service" at the February 18, 2008, sunset date. "This will compromise the protection of affected customers, and leave certain fire installations, where AMPS is the required second transmission means, non-compliant with NFPA 72," he said.

Elisabeth Wilkins contributed to this report.