FCC puts kibosh on AMPS extension
WASHINGTON--It's official: On Friday, June 15, the FCC officially denied the AMPS extension request filed by the AICC and ADT Security and will continue with the February 18, 2008, sunset of legislation requiring cellular licensees to support analog service equipment. The original request was for a two-year extension on the requirement that cellular licensees provide analog service to subscribers and roamers whose equipment conforms to the Advanced Mobile Phone Service, or AMPS.
Lou Fiore, chairman of the AICC and Central Station Alarm Association officer, said, "After a long struggle and many meetings with the FCC, the alarm industry and the cellular industry both aired their viewpoints, and the cellular industry prevailed. We feel that certain facts may not have been given the weight they deserved regarding the availability of replacement equipment, the role of AMPS alarm radios and the feasibility of replacing these radios. However, we as an industry, both from the association side and the manufacturing side, have done all we could to make the FCC aware of our situation and dealers aware of the impending AMPS Sunset."
When contacted, the FCC referred all inquiries to a press release detailing the denial of the extension request.
According to Fiore, industry analysts believe that more than half a million AMPS alarm radios may still be in service on the February 18, 2008, sunset date. Among the choices provided by Fiore for replacement 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.
Said Fiore, "I would ask all manufacturers and central stations to now redouble their efforts to let customers know of the February 2008 AMPS Sunset. I would also like to try to reach out to alarm product distributors and third-party monitoring companies to make sure that they alert all their dealers, many of which do not belong to one of the industry's associations. I fear that still many companies, especially smaller ones, have yet to get the word that AMPS cellular radios they have installed will cease to operate, if not immediately, within months after February 2008."