Security Sales has learned that alarm customers who subscribe to DSL service through their local telephone company may not be able to get an alarm signal through. At a meeting of the Security Industry Association’s (SIA) Digital Communications Standards Subcommittee, Dr. Jimmy Salinas of Southwestern Bell Telephone told representatives from alarm panel manufacturers—including Ademco, DSC and Radionics—that DSL service effectively disables any alarm system using the same line from being able to seize communications during an alarm event.

For new panels, a possible solution involves placing a high-pass filter inside the unit. However, such a task could take more than a year because Underwriters Laboratories (UL) may insist on testing the modified panels. For locations with existing installs, a possible solution entails splitting the telephone line before it reaches the residence and then running it to the panel. This approach would require countless service calls and could be extremely problematic when it comes to multiple-dwelling buildings.

According to Parks Associates, in the United States as of September 1999, there were an estimated 387,000 DSL subscribers, and that number is expected to climb rapidly. Subcommittee members noted that the problem is a potential liability nightmare and swift action is vital. Subcommittee moderator L. Virginia Williams of SIA says an official release on the hot topic is imminent.

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