'Don't get cut off'?
CALGARY, Alberta--Tela-Link Communications, a manufacturer of long-range radio equipment, which only months ago promoted its product as an analog replacement solution with the slogan, "Don't get cut off," purportedly shut down its network service in January throughout much of Canada.
"On January 6, 2008, the network went down in Ottawa," said Alex Lazebnik, chief executive officer of Comcon Security in Ottawa. "I have customers who have Tela-Link that aren't reporting to the monitoring station and some of those are primary units that relied on the network ... I'm quite lucky because I only had about 20 units, but I lost about $5,000 or $6,000 of my own money [to replace units] and I can't charge customers for that loss."
Repeated calls made to Tela-Link were not returned and sometime around Jan. 25 the company shut down its Web site and discontinued several of its contact numbers.
Tela-Link, in conjunction with its sister company, StarNet, provided an exclusive and privatized ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio network dedicated strictly to the transmission of alarm information. Alarm signals could be transmitted along this communication path from Tela-Link radios to any central station in North America, according to the company's now defunct Web site.
George Siegel, general manager of Astroguard Alarms in Vancouver, also reported that the Tela-Link network was down. Siegel said he and about two dozen other Canadian dealers attended a seminar in 2007 that promoted Tela-Link as a replacement option for analog equipment and he signed up to sell Tela-Link's product. Only a few months later, Siegel was told the network was shutting down.
"We got a call on the 20th of December from one of our competitors in Vancouver who said he'd received a call from Brad Morrison [the owner of Tela-Link] saying he'd run out of money and was shutting down," he said. Siegel said he has replaced 80 Tela-Link units since January.
However, the Tela-Link network isn't down in all of Canada, according to Haim Vaginshtein, owner of Halt Security in Toronto. "I have not been advised by the monitoring center that the network is down," he said. "But we're being very proactive about it and replacing our units now. We're not going to wait for the network to shut down. I've replaced 40 units in the last three weeks and have about 50 more to replace."
Vaginshtein said his company stopped working with Tela-Link about seven or eight months ago, "which is lucky, because if not, I'd probably have a lot more units to replace," he said.