Cable Companies Accelerate Rollout of VoIP


Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is getting a greater boost into the marketplace with two cable companies now saying they plan to roll out VoIP service to their customers. The entry into the marketplace of VoIP will have implications for alarm monitoring and the companies that provide it.
Comcast announced May 27 that it would begin offering VoIP to all its customers beginning in 2005. Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable recently announced that it has expanded the rollout of its VoIP service to Columbia, S.C., and plans to hold a training session this month for security professionals in the area.

Security alarm industry leaders have said that, along with cell phone number switching and DSL, alarm monitoring companies and installers need to be ready for their customers embracing VoIP, which may have compatibility issues with many security monitoring systems (See the Industry Pulse: In Depth feature in the April 2004 issue of SSI). Most alarm monitoring systems rely on a connection with a traditional landline.

Comcast says it will offer phone service using a cable modem over its high-speed lines and will be testing the feature in some U.S. cities this year. Time Warner Cable, which has been testing its “Digital Phone” service in North Carolina, will soon be offering Digital Phone in Columbia, S.C., according to the company’s Web site.

While Time Warner says its service will work with most alarm monitoring systems, it does say on its Web site that Digital Phone doesn’t have back-up power and those concerned about a lack of service during power outages should “connect a standard analog long from your previous telephone provider to your monitored security system” and also recommends security system providers be consulted before using VoIP.

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