FCC extension request denied?

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Friday, June 1, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C.--While they're hopeful that the tide may change in their favor, alarm industry officials are disappointed that Federal Communication Commission chair John Martin's position on the AMPS sunset was leaked to the press before an official vote had been taken.
On April 16, USA Today, citing an anonymous source, reported that Martin was circulating a memo recommending that the FCC deny the alarm industry request that the AMPS sunset date be extended for two years until February 2010. At the time, the FCC press contact confirmed that Martin's memo was circulating, but could not confirm the contents of that memo. On May 4, John Prendergast, attorney for the Alarm Industry Communications Commission, confirmed that Martin is in fact recommending that the FCC deny the request.
"We are disappointed that this got out because it does not represent the full commission decision and it certainly does not give the cellular carriers an incentive to negotiate in good faith," he said.
The final decision rests on how five commissioners (Martin being one of the five) vote on the request. As Security Systems News went to press, Prendergast was looking forward to a May 10 meeting between AICC and two commissioners in FCC's wireless bureau.
"We hope to get a better read" at that meeting about how they may feel about the extension and the possibility of an extension shorter than two years, he said.
At an April 24 meeting with the press, ADT president John Koch said that ADT remains intent on pursuing an extension.
"Discussions are continuing as we speak," he said. If a "two-year extension is not acceptable, we should look at something less than two years."
Koch said ADT "firmly believes that [an extension] is necessary because of the lack of equipment available until recently ... and because of the large number of customers who will be impacted if the AMPS sunset takes effect in February 2008."
"We're committed to working with the telecommunications companies, the FCC and anyone else to make this work," he said.
Prendergast said alarm companies have been advised to "behave as though there will be no extra time at all beyond the original deadline."