CSAA VoIP survey underway

Sunday, February 1, 2009

VIENNA, Va.--Over the past two years, the Alarm Industry Communications Committee has undertaken an initiative to ensure that VoIP providers are required to notify their end users of the steps needed to preserve alarm services should the end user choose VoIP phone services. Those steps include requiring the VoIP provider to notify the end user at the time of number activation that if they have alarm services, the end user needs to have their alarm company test their system, notify their alarm company when VoIP service is activated, and install a 24-hour battery backup for end user equipment.

According to CSAA director of marketing and communications Celia Besore the need to study end user understanding of these steps is pressing. “We need to capture this information,” Besore said. “We’ve been lobbying Congress and the FCC because what happens is when people get VoIP systems sometimes they don’t realize that their alarm systems may stop working.”

A recent meeting sponsored by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, along with representatives of the VoN (Voice on the Net) Coalition, Vonage, and representatives of the cable television industry gave all groups present a chance to form a consensus on the best ways to inform end users of the potential problem. Many representatives present, according to a CSAA release, contended that they were not aware that alarm service interruption was a real issue. Besore said such a lack of hard data contributes to the problem. “What we’re trying to do is work with the telecommunication companies to make sure that they inform their customers,” Besore said. “Unless we can convince the FCC and Congress that a there are a lot of people affected, they might not be interested.”

The survey can be found at www.csaaul.org/AlarmSurveyapproved10-18-08.xls. Interested participants can e-mail monthly responses to Besore at communications@csaaul.org.