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Comcast puts VoIP on the Brink's

Wed, 10/18/2006 - 7:31am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Comcast Corp. and Brink's Home Security have formed a partnership that aims to iron out a sometimes nagging problem associated with IP-based telephony services - proper support for and integration with tricky, legacy home security systems designed to work with traditional circuit-switched phone offerings.

Thanks in part to cross-training and other coordinated operations involving technicians and customer service representatives, the companies hope to produce more reliable alarm signal transmissions, faster installations and provide for fewer service visits.

In addition, the companies will co-market products to new and existing customers. On top of that, Brink's is offering Comcast voice subs a free "security needs analysis," discounts on installation, and a free second keypad install.

Comcast and Brink's expect to launch the program in as many as eight markets by year-end, starting with Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and Jacksonville.

Comcast estimates that 25 percent of its Digital Voice customers have home security systems.

"We have been aggressively working to partner with industry-leading home security companies, such as Brink's Home Security, to offer Comcast Digital Voice customers a seamless installation experience, quality service, and knowledgeable technicians that can answer their questions," said Catherine Avgiris, SVP and GM of Comcast Voice Services, in a statement.

The agreement is also important due to the fact that some competing home security system providers tend to question whether VoIP services will work properly with their legacy security systems. ADT, for example, offers such customers a Q&A on the subject, noting that switching to VoIP/Digital Phone service from a traditional landline could affect the security system.

Acknowledging a "conservative" policy in this regard, ADT "requires VoIP users to keep their traditional phone line or to install a cellular transmission system to help ensure that their security system can communicate with ADT's customer monitoring centers."

ADT suggests that VoIP customers use what it calls a "Safewatch Cellular Backup" system, which lists for $249, plus $12 a month for monitoring. That fee drops to $1 a month if the customer takes the security firm's "Parallel Protection Package."

ADT also notes that it is working with "several VoIP service providers to offer special savings."

However, with some extra attention, cable technicians have been able to install VoIP services and have them work within the confines of systems such as ADT's without requiring that customers retain their circuit-switched phone service or purchase additional equipment or pay extra monthly fees.

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