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Will switching to Time Warner Digital Phone Service affect my Amherst Alarm security System?

We at Amherst Alarm, Inc. pride ourselves for our excellent service in security systems and fire alarm systems. As our customer, your safety and security is very important to us. Maintaining a secure line of communication between you and our monitoring response center is our top priority, providing you with 24/7 protection every day of the year.

We also understand that saving money is a top priority for our customers. The popularity of new phone technologies such as VoIP and Time Warner’s Digital Phone Service is largely contributed to the low cost of these services compared to traditional “land line based” phone services.

However did you know these new technologies could stop your alarm system from communication to our monitoring response center? To better understand VoIP and Digital phone service, and how it affects your alarm system, we’ve put together some basic information about VOIP and digital phone services.

What is VoIP/Digital Phone Service?

The on-going development of new technologies offers today’s consumers a wide range of new communications services, which are generically called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Digital Phone Services. These services are provided by cable companies, telecommunications companies and, in some cases, independent providers that rely on the Internet connections that are already present in the home. These digital cable based systems, using a cable providers existing cable network decoder at the cable head end, ramp up to the conventional telephone network. Always test your system before and after any work is done. While all these technologies provide a form of telephone service, they vary widely in their range of features and reliability.

Will switching to VoIP or Digital Phone Service affect my alarm system?

It depends. For a VoIP user who elects to keep a traditional phone line, there will be no affect on the operation of their security system. However, in many cases, subscribers considering these new VoIP technologies plan to disconnect the traditional phone line that has been used to provide telephone service to the home. Before disconnecting their traditional phone line, homeowners should understand that some VoIP services may expose them to the risk of losing operation of the security system during a power outage. In some cases, some types of VoIP service may not properly transmit signals from the home security system.

How does my alarm system communicate now?

Security panels are designed to communicate with customer monitoring centers through a traditional phone line. During an alarm event, the control panel is designed to seize control of the traditional phone line, which allows a signal to be sent even if a telephone receiver in the home is off the hook. With VoIP, Amherst Alarm’s ability to receive an alarm signal may be impacted if there is a power outage, if a telephone receiver is off the hook or if VoIP service is temporarily unavailable due to scheduled or unscheduled network outages. These risks vary widely among the VoIP technologies used today. In short, these aspects of VoIP service could compromise a homeowner’s security.

What is Amherst Alarms policy on VoIP and Digital Phone Service services?

Amherst Alarm’s policy on VoIP is based on providing the best life/safety and security to our customers. Organizations that establish standards applicable to the security industry currently recognize traditional phone lines and cellular technology as the only acceptable means for transmitting alarm signals. Because issues of life/safety may be involved, Amherst Alarm is taking a conservative approach that is in the best interest of protecting our customers. Amherst Alarm 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 Amherst Alarm’s customer monitoring centers. Technology is outpacing regulation in the case of VoIP and both Amherst Alarm and the standard-setting organizations for the security industry are evaluating these technologies.