FCC Denies AMPS Extension; Upholds ‘Sunset’ Date

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied an alarm industry petition to extend the advanced mobile phone service (AMPS) “Sunset” date. 

In 2002, the FCC established Feb. 18, 2008, as the date cellular carriers could begin discontinuing support of analog wireless networks. At that time, the FCC said a five-year sunset was sufficient to facilitate the migration to digital handsets. 

The industry says of the 950,000 analog alarm radios yet to be replaced, there would only be time enough to swap about 400,000 before Feb. 18, 2008. 

The alarm industry initially lobbied for a two-year extension of the sunset date. After those efforts proved fruitless, a proposal was submitted for a nine-month extension for “second and third tier” metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), which cover 39.4 percent of the U.S. population. 

“To have both of the extensions denied is a big disappointment for the industry,” Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) Chairman Louis Fiore told Security Sales & Integration

Despite being denied an extension, Fiore said he is pleased the FCC did mandate that carriers would be obligated to continue AMPS service until the sunset date expires. “At least we know we are not having to scramble in the meantime,” he said.

See the August issue of SSI for a special supplement on alternative communication methods, such as GSM cellular radios, in the wake of AMPS’ obsolescence.

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