Update on XFINITY Home: Comcast Still Struggling with Move into Home Security

Posted by , , at 3:43 pm

Comcast is having a tough time with its leap into home security, through its XFINITY ™ Home platform. The stakes are high: in fact, Comcast’s commitment to the space is backed by what we hear is roughly $11 million in advertising expenditures so far this year.  And even more interesting is the persistent rumor that ADT, now an independent public company, is a potential acquisition target for Comcast. Wouldn’t that be interesting: if ADT, already known for its subpar customer service and above-average cancellation rate, was acquired by Comcast, the routine butt of its own poor service jokes, and one of the ten most hated consumer service companies in the US.

For background, the XFINITY ™ Home offer “bundles” home security and home automation with other Comcast services. The term bundling means you can’t get the home security services alone: you have to be signed up for other Comcast products as well. It’s become generally accepted why cable companies have embraced home security: Comcast and the other Multiple System Operators (MSO’s) have extremely high cancellation rates, combined with stagnant top line growth, so migrating into home security makes sense – to them. However, they are learning that protecting homes and families is not as easy as they thought. When it comes to life safety and security, the system has to work, and it has to be supported well. Here’s a recent string of posts from the Comcast XFINITY ™ forum that reinforces some concerns about Comcast I’ve been sharing here for some time.

Posted 10-23-2012 07:46 PM (Tuesday evening)

I purchased an upgraded premium package and have been dissatisfied with the Xfinity home security system. Since I’m away from home often I’m finding that the remote access is often off line which requires someone to reset the modem, router or touch screen. I’m starting to feel this system is only appropriate for those that are regularly at home. I’m constantly having to ask someone to reset the equipment or meet the Comcast technician to problem solve the issue. I’ve had batteries go in new wireless sensors, replaced all the motion detectors and cameras, been provided a rental modem because the one I purchased was “not compatible” as well as been told the router has a weak signal. I’m starting to look for a new system but want to confirm that this one was indeed not the right choice because I’m sure I will have a battle over canceling my contract. Does anyone have a similar experience or know how to resolve this issue?

Posted 10-25-2012 11:52 AM (Thursday morning)

Our records indicate that you were assisted by our local colleagues regarding your concern. If you need more help, please feel free to contact us.

Comcast Corp. – National Customer Operations

10-25-2012 01:01 PM

No, that isn’t correct. The record shows a satisfied resolution because the customer service representative is probably evaluated on that basis. Your system is flawed in gathering accurate posts because they’re one sided and subject to being written by someone that seems to have an alternate objective. He was very nice and understanding but I told him that there was nothing he could do to help since I was not home to reboot the control box. He also provided some more phone numbers to call when I got home to address the lack of connectivity.

My post really isn’t about resolving my problem(s). I simply was looking to get feedback and confirmation that a security system based on the Xfinity technology is poorly suited for someone who is frequently away from home and is reliant on remote functionality. With a system that routinely goes off line and needs to be rebooted I regularly have no video, light and thermostat control. Although I believe the house is armed and monitored this is not the level of service I contracted to receive.

So Many Issues – Where Do I Start?

For one thing, the Comcast system is based almost entirely on a vulnerable Internet connection: if you have problems with your connection, as this customer did, you may be out of luck for anything except the most basic alarm service. And a burglar can easily cut that Internet connection. A better solution – such as the only one we use at FrontPoint – bases almost everything on a safer, more robust, and more reliable cellular connection. That we way there is no phone or Internet connection needed for sending an alarm, and you have much better access to remote arm/disarm, text and email notifications, and even home automation features (for control of lights, locks and thermostats) – all with free mobile apps. And here’s a tip: Comcast uses the same Internet-based platform that ADT uses for its “Pulse” service. Misery must love company!

Support Begins with being Compliant

While some technology platforms are better than others, you also have to be able to support your customers. After all, this isn’t just about cable TV: this is about home security, and the peace of mind that should come from protecting your home and family. I noticed from the dates and times above that it took a good day and a half for the customer to get a response from Comcast – it should have been the next morning, at the latest. And that brings up another issue: is Comcast even playing by the rules?

Alarm Company Licensing

For those of us who have dedicated our careers to protecting homes and families, compliance is a big deal. In this industry, compliance means following the law, including having the required licenses that are needed to operate in a state or local jurisdiction. These statutes generally relate to consumer protection: you don’t want bad guys in your home, so background checks and fingerprinting may be involved, and you also don’t want your house to burn down from faulty wiring or other reasons. And Comcast is already in trouble in one state for not being compliant.

The Massachusetts Systems Contractors Association (MSCA) is asking a judge to find the two new security industry entrants are violating state law and ban them from selling, installing and monitoring security systems in the state. The MSCA contends Comcast and Verizon are endangering the public by having unlicensed personnel do security systems work, and also infringing on the rights of the group’s members.

The MSCA says all its members who do security systems work have a state electrical license, have passed a criminal background check and work for companies that are licensed by the Department of Public Safety. Comcast and Verizon don’t meet such licensing requirements in their security systems work, the group alleges.

It’s No Laughing Matter

Then there is my favorite take on the Comcast XFINITY Home offering. One web site affiliated with Consumer Reports fielded many comments that indicated a “thumbs down” even before the product launched. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek simulated response following an alarm event:

We just received an alarm from your XFINITY Security System. The police are scheduled to arrive between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm next Thursday. Please make sure someone is home to let them in. Or, if you prefer, you may choose the self-arrest option.

This is darkly humorous, but is also a painful reminder that Comcast may well be way out of its depth in trying to provide true peace of mind. As a “real” alarm company that is focused on protecting homes and families, FrontPoint welcomes the huge ad spend to increase public awareness of interactive monitoring services – exactly the advanced features that FrontPoint has offered since our inception in 2007. We also expect that the more people research their options, the more they’ll choose FrontPoint. As the leader in wireless home security, we specialize in the best protection: that’s why we’re the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat – and you’ll be thrilled with our service.

Comments (32)

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  1. Mildred McCarthy

    Started charging me $11 more for no reason called and told I had a one year contract even though I signed up for two years told I wanted to cancel because there is always something wrong with it then told me I had a two year contract but the price was not included told her I wanted to talk to a manager told me they were busy and never called me back that was an hour long conversation with an agent who either did not know what she was talking about or lying

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Mildred – Thanks for your comment. What a sorry situation, and we wish we could help. It’s no fun when you get caught in the “big company” machine. Of course, not all big companies have to work that way: some of the best companies are in fact the biggest. But in the alarm industry, sadly, the status quo for so many of these players is that the customer decidedly does not come first. FrontPoint is working very hard to change that perception, one customer at a time – and we have the positive reviews to prove it. Thanks again for sharing your experience with one of the “other” companies.

  2. finnellthepissedone

    I don’t know if anyone realize it or not… But if the security system is breached… If you lose visual contact on the X Finity pad…! If someone breaks in your home… Isn’t that when you want to know exactly where the intruder is…?… That doesn’t make any damn sense at all! I am so pissed I want to give this trash bag but I can’t… Or I will be penalized over a thousand dollars! Boy they must be paying the Better Business Bureau of… I bet you its not in free service

  3. finnellthepissedone

    I don’t know if anyone realize it or not… But if the security system is breached… If you lose visual contact on the X Finity pad…! If someone breaks in your home… Isn’t that when you want to know exactly where the intruder is…?… That doesn’t make any damn sense at all! I am so pissed I want to give this trash bag but I can’t… Or I will be penalized over a thousand dollars! Boy they must be paying the Better Business Bureau of… I bet you its not in free service

  4. natashanickson

    I have been burglarized…that’s how I found out I had faulty equipment..thousands of dollars in damaged and/or stolen items. Came home to alarm still armed but hse cleaned out. Motion sensor was faulty. They offered me 50 off my freaking bill. Also said that they could not cover my lose o damages over a certain amount. Yet they wnt they freaking bill paid. My kids are terrified

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment, and we are very sorry hear that you were victimized – both by an intruder, and also by your supposed “alarm company.” It’s becoming increasingly clear to several of these new entrants to the alarm industry (and also to their subscribers) that providing real peace of mind is nowhere as easy as they thought it would be. Your story is just one more great example.

      As for their response, it’s underwhelming. Every company makes mistakes – yes, even FrontPoint – but the true measure of a company is what happens next. And based on how the company dealt with you, it appears that they have yet to learn the real differences between cable service and protecting a home and family. Sad. Again, sorry to hear about this, and thanks for sharing.

  5. natashanickson

    I have been burglarized…that’s how I found out I had faulty equipment..thousands of dollars in damaged and/or stolen items. Came home to alarm still armed but hse cleaned out. Motion sensor was faulty. They offered me 50 off my freaking bill. Also said that they could not cover my lose o damages over a certain amount. Yet they wnt they freaking bill paid. My kids are terrified

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks for your comment, and we are very sorry hear that you were victimized – both by an intruder, and also by your supposed “alarm company.” It’s becoming increasingly clear to several of these new entrants to the alarm industry (and also to their subscribers) that providing real peace of mind is nowhere as easy as they thought it would be. Your story is just one more great example.

      As for their response, it’s underwhelming. Every company makes mistakes – yes, even FrontPoint – but the true measure of a company is what happens next. And based on how the company dealt with you, it appears that they have yet to learn the real differences between cable service and protecting a home and family. Sad. Again, sorry to hear about this, and thanks for sharing.

  6. Meesh

    Hm. Such a negative article makes me lose a bit of respect for you guys. Positive speaks much better for the essence of your company. Hrm.

    • Meesh

      … and I had to post this again. Wondering if it was removed? :/

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Nope – was just also on reviewing all the recent comments. Here’s my reply to your earlier post, and thanks again.

        Thanks, Meesh, for your comment. Sorry you feel that way – we try to report on what’s happening in the alarm industry (and on many other topics related to home security) with an even hand and an open mind. Yes, we are opinionated about the technology we use, and the level of service we provide: frankly, it’s because we think our customers deserve the best. As for my observations on the competitors’ technology platforms, support levels, or other challenging the rest of the alarm industry, we try to provide as much factual basis and third party verification as possible, so that readers here will take these posts seriously. Just as our web site is highly regarded for its transparency, and our Security Consultants are known for being helpful instead of pushy, I want to inform and educate. My apologies if I have disappointed you in this regard. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll use this same reply to your other comments as well, as they were on the same topic. Thanks again.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Meesh, for your comment. Sorry you feel that way – we try to report on what’s happening in the alarm industry (and on many other topics related to home security) with an even hand and an open mind. Yes, we are opinionated about the technology we use, and the level of service we provide: frankly, it’s because we think our customers deserve the best. As for my observations on the competitors’ technology platforms, support levels, or other challenging the rest of the alarm industry, we try to provide as much factual basis and third party verification as possible, so that readers here will take these posts seriously. Just as our web site is highly regarded for its transparency, and our Security Consultants are known for being helpful instead of pushy, I want to inform and educate. My apologies if I have disappointed you in this regard. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll use this same reply to your other comments as well, as they were on the same topic. Thanks again.

  7. Meesh

    Hm. Such a negative article makes me lose a bit of respect for you guys. Positive speaks much better for the essence of your company. Hrm.

    • Meesh

      … and I had to post this again. Wondering if it was removed? :/

      • Peter M. Rogers

        Nope – was just also on reviewing all the recent comments. Here’s my reply to your earlier post, and thanks again.

        Thanks, Meesh, for your comment. Sorry you feel that way – we try to report on what’s happening in the alarm industry (and on many other topics related to home security) with an even hand and an open mind. Yes, we are opinionated about the technology we use, and the level of service we provide: frankly, it’s because we think our customers deserve the best. As for my observations on the competitors’ technology platforms, support levels, or other challenging the rest of the alarm industry, we try to provide as much factual basis and third party verification as possible, so that readers here will take these posts seriously. Just as our web site is highly regarded for its transparency, and our Security Consultants are known for being helpful instead of pushy, I want to inform and educate. My apologies if I have disappointed you in this regard. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll use this same reply to your other comments as well, as they were on the same topic. Thanks again.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Meesh, for your comment. Sorry you feel that way – we try to report on what’s happening in the alarm industry (and on many other topics related to home security) with an even hand and an open mind. Yes, we are opinionated about the technology we use, and the level of service we provide: frankly, it’s because we think our customers deserve the best. As for my observations on the competitors’ technology platforms, support levels, or other challenging the rest of the alarm industry, we try to provide as much factual basis and third party verification as possible, so that readers here will take these posts seriously. Just as our web site is highly regarded for its transparency, and our Security Consultants are known for being helpful instead of pushy, I want to inform and educate. My apologies if I have disappointed you in this regard. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll use this same reply to your other comments as well, as they were on the same topic. Thanks again.

  8. Meesh

    Aw… Bashing other companies to this degree makes you look bad. :( First time I’ve been dismayed by you guys.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Meesh, for your comment. Sorry you feel that way – we try to report on what’s happening in the alarm industry (and on many other topics related to home security) with an even hand and an open mind. Yes, we are opinionated about the technology we use, and the level of service we provide: frankly, it’s because we think our customers deserve the best. As for my observations on the competitors’ technology platforms, support levels, or other challenging the rest of the alarm industry, we try to provide as much factual basis and third party verification as possible, so that readers here will take these posts seriously. Just as our web site is highly regarded for its transparency, and our Security Consultants are known for being helpful instead of pushy, I want to inform and educate. My apologies if I have disappointed you in this regard. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll use this same reply to your other comments as well, as they were on the same topic. Thanks again.

  9. Meesh

    Aw… Bashing other companies to this degree makes you look bad. :( First time I’ve been dismayed by you guys.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Meesh, for your comment. Sorry you feel that way – we try to report on what’s happening in the alarm industry (and on many other topics related to home security) with an even hand and an open mind. Yes, we are opinionated about the technology we use, and the level of service we provide: frankly, it’s because we think our customers deserve the best. As for my observations on the competitors’ technology platforms, support levels, or other challenging the rest of the alarm industry, we try to provide as much factual basis and third party verification as possible, so that readers here will take these posts seriously. Just as our web site is highly regarded for its transparency, and our Security Consultants are known for being helpful instead of pushy, I want to inform and educate. My apologies if I have disappointed you in this regard. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll use this same reply to your other comments as well, as they were on the same topic. Thanks again.

  10. Myrna Rivera-Plotsky

    Love the system and customer service. Always been very nice when by mistake activated the alarm or smoke detector. I just need a generator for when I have no power for a long time so my system and internet works.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Myrna – Thanks for your comment. It’s true that some power outages can last longer than the backup battery in the FrontPoint alarm system, even though we provide more than most alarm companies in that regard. Here is the detail: the requirement from Underwriters Laboratories is that an intrusion alarm system has to have a 4-hour battery backup, and that at the end of the four hours, if there is an alarm, the system will still operate and even support the siren output for a full four minutes. But now comes the tricky part: according to the National Fire Code, NFPA 72, as soon as you add even one monitored smoke and heat sensor (like the ones we sell) to a residential system in a one-or two-family home, the alarm system is considered a fire alarm system as well, and must have a 24-hour backup battery. Every alarm company should know this, but they don’t. And every alarm should act accordingly, but they don’t. One of the reasons we chose the GE Security wireless alarm equipment is that they use a 24-hour backup battery in every system they sell, so that we never have to worry about changing or upgrading the battery, based on the sensors that our customers use. So all of our alarm control panels are compliant for fire alarm use and monitoring out of the box – and we are the exception in that regard. Yes, there are power outages that last longer then 24 hours, unfortunately, but we are giving you the best the industry currently has to offer – and more than you’ll get from most of our competitors!

      Thanks again.

  11. Myrna Rivera-Plotsky

    Love the system and customer service. Always been very nice when by mistake activated the alarm or smoke detector. I just need a generator for when I have no power for a long time so my system and internet works.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Myrna – Thanks for your comment. It’s true that some power outages can last longer than the backup battery in the FrontPoint alarm system, even though we provide more than most alarm companies in that regard. Here is the detail: the requirement from Underwriters Laboratories is that an intrusion alarm system has to have a 4-hour battery backup, and that at the end of the four hours, if there is an alarm, the system will still operate and even support the siren output for a full four minutes. But now comes the tricky part: according to the National Fire Code, NFPA 72, as soon as you add even one monitored smoke and heat sensor (like the ones we sell) to a residential system in a one-or two-family home, the alarm system is considered a fire alarm system as well, and must have a 24-hour backup battery. Every alarm company should know this, but they don’t. And every alarm should act accordingly, but they don’t. One of the reasons we chose the GE Security wireless alarm equipment is that they use a 24-hour backup battery in every system they sell, so that we never have to worry about changing or upgrading the battery, based on the sensors that our customers use. So all of our alarm control panels are compliant for fire alarm use and monitoring out of the box – and we are the exception in that regard. Yes, there are power outages that last longer then 24 hours, unfortunately, but we are giving you the best the industry currently has to offer – and more than you’ll get from most of our competitors!

      Thanks again.

  12. Myrna Rivera-Plotsky

    Your service is really great and the staff. The customer service is also great, I have had the service for a few years. The only thing is when I lose power I lose my system if the power is not restore for a long time. I need a generator I have learned with big storms back to back.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Myrna – Thanks for your comment. It’s true that some power outages can last longer than the backup battery in the FrontPoint alarm system, even though we provide more than most alarm companies in that regard. Here is the detail: the requirement from Underwriters Laboratories is that an intrusion alarm system has to have a 4-hour battery backup, and that at the end of the four hours, if there is an alarm, the system will still operate and even support the siren output for a full four minutes. But now comes the tricky part: according to the National Fire Code, NFPA 72, as soon as you add even one monitored smoke and heat sensor (like the ones we sell) to a residential system in a one-or two-family home, the alarm system is considered a fire alarm system as well, and must have a 24-hour backup battery. Every alarm company should know this, but they don’t. And every alarm should act accordingly, but they don’t. One of the reasons we chose the GE Security wireless alarm equipment is that they use a 24-hour backup battery in every system they sell, so that we never have to worry about changing or upgrading the battery, based on the sensors that our customers use. So all of our alarm control panels are compliant for fire alarm use and monitoring out of the box – and we are the exception in that regard. Yes, there are power outages that last longer then 24 hours, unfortunately, but we are giving you the best the industry currently has to offer – and more than you’ll get from most of our competitors!

      Thanks again.

  13. Myrna Rivera-Plotsky

    Your service is really great and the staff. The customer service is also great, I have had the service for a few years. The only thing is when I lose power I lose my system if the power is not restore for a long time. I need a generator I have learned with big storms back to back.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Myrna – Thanks for your comment. It’s true that some power outages can last longer than the backup battery in the FrontPoint alarm system, even though we provide more than most alarm companies in that regard. Here is the detail: the requirement from Underwriters Laboratories is that an intrusion alarm system has to have a 4-hour battery backup, and that at the end of the four hours, if there is an alarm, the system will still operate and even support the siren output for a full four minutes. But now comes the tricky part: according to the National Fire Code, NFPA 72, as soon as you add even one monitored smoke and heat sensor (like the ones we sell) to a residential system in a one-or two-family home, the alarm system is considered a fire alarm system as well, and must have a 24-hour backup battery. Every alarm company should know this, but they don’t. And every alarm should act accordingly, but they don’t. One of the reasons we chose the GE Security wireless alarm equipment is that they use a 24-hour backup battery in every system they sell, so that we never have to worry about changing or upgrading the battery, based on the sensors that our customers use. So all of our alarm control panels are compliant for fire alarm use and monitoring out of the box – and we are the exception in that regard. Yes, there are power outages that last longer then 24 hours, unfortunately, but we are giving you the best the industry currently has to offer – and more than you’ll get from most of our competitors!

      Thanks again.

  14. Nathan

    Although I believe the Frontpoint system is far superior, and I am a 100% satisfied customer, making the cellular connection seem flawless is misleading. Any thief can get a cell jammer, and although they are illegal, so is breaking in to someone’s house.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Nathan – The issue of jamming in general does come up more and more, as people get smarter about shopping for peace of mind, and gain a better understanding of the technologies offered by the alarm industry.

      There are really two issues, so let’s deal with them one by one, starting with sensor jamming. In the case of the Interlogix/GE Security sensor frequency, the company uses 319.5 mhz. This is a highly encrypted former military frequency, used in all the sensors made by the company since the 80’s. There are literally millions of these GE sensors in use, each with a unique transmitter ID. The fact is that in all those years, there has not been one instance of someone successfully jamming a sensor’s communication with the control panel. That does not make it impossible, just extremely unlikely. In addition, the Interlogix panels are equipped with jam detection, so that any effort to jam the sensor frequency would be detected and processed as an alarm event, and would be sent as such to the central monitoring station. As you can imagine, with millions of sensors in use and no documented jammings having occurred, this has not been a significant concern to date. When you consider that most burglaries are opportunistic, random acts that are increasingly committed to feed a drug habit, you can see why most alarm companies are much more worried about a $3 pair of wire cutters taking out a “traditional” system that is based on a vulnerable phone line than a smart (and rare) intruder with a jammer. Of course, FrontPoint is 100% cellular, so those wire cutters don’t worry us one bit.

      That brings us to the second issue, and your point: cell jamming. There are cell jamming devices that (though illegal) are not so hard to come by. However, the inexpensive ones have relatively short range, so customers following our instructions on panel placement should have little to worry about. I’m not sure how the average burglar would know that the home has a cellular system to begin with – it’s not as if the meth user who fits the standard burglar profile spends much time on our web site, or those of our competitors. Much more likely is that the burglar will have the wire cutters mentioned above, which will still take out most alarm systems in use today. The smart guy in the black outfit that we see in the movies or on TV who might have a jammer is more likely targeting specific items and much higher value properties that invariably have special security systems.

      While it’s important to discuss what could happen, it’s equally important to discuss what has happened, and what is happening today. Cell must be extremely rare, because if it is occurring, we are not aware of it. In fact, after more than 20 years in this industry, I have never heard of a cellular jamming resulting in a burglary that was not detected. But I have heard of many cut phone lines – and more all the time. And when it comes to traditional phone lines, they are going away at a remarkable rate. The major carriers (including AT&T) have even petitioned the FCC for a “sunset” provision that will allow the carriers to stop supporting these “hard copper” phone lines. Internet alarm communication is not sufficiently reliable, as is generally agreed by the alarm industry: even ADT does not use it. And the companies who use Internet monitoring (such as Comcast) as the primary channel don’t report the loss of Internet connectivity outside the home, either through interactive monitoring or to the central station, since this loss happens all too frequently.

      That leaves cellular monitoring as the safest and most reliable method – and FrontPoint is 100% for alarm signal transmission. The exposure of cellular to being defeated is minimal, as proven by actual experience, and is expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future. Thanks again for your question.

  15. Nathan

    Although I believe the Frontpoint system is far superior, and I am a 100% satisfied customer, making the cellular connection seem flawless is misleading. Any thief can get a cell jammer, and although they are illegal, so is breaking in to someone’s house.

    • Peter M. Rogers

      Thanks, Nathan – The issue of jamming in general does come up more and more, as people get smarter about shopping for peace of mind, and gain a better understanding of the technologies offered by the alarm industry.

      There are really two issues, so let’s deal with them one by one, starting with sensor jamming. In the case of the Interlogix/GE Security sensor frequency, the company uses 319.5 mhz. This is a highly encrypted former military frequency, used in all the sensors made by the company since the 80’s. There are literally millions of these GE sensors in use, each with a unique transmitter ID. The fact is that in all those years, there has not been one instance of someone successfully jamming a sensor’s communication with the control panel. That does not make it impossible, just extremely unlikely. In addition, the Interlogix panels are equipped with jam detection, so that any effort to jam the sensor frequency would be detected and processed as an alarm event, and would be sent as such to the central monitoring station. As you can imagine, with millions of sensors in use and no documented jammings having occurred, this has not been a significant concern to date. When you consider that most burglaries are opportunistic, random acts that are increasingly committed to feed a drug habit, you can see why most alarm companies are much more worried about a $3 pair of wire cutters taking out a “traditional” system that is based on a vulnerable phone line than a smart (and rare) intruder with a jammer. Of course, FrontPoint is 100% cellular, so those wire cutters don’t worry us one bit.

      That brings us to the second issue, and your point: cell jamming. There are cell jamming devices that (though illegal) are not so hard to come by. However, the inexpensive ones have relatively short range, so customers following our instructions on panel placement should have little to worry about. I’m not sure how the average burglar would know that the home has a cellular system to begin with – it’s not as if the meth user who fits the standard burglar profile spends much time on our web site, or those of our competitors. Much more likely is that the burglar will have the wire cutters mentioned above, which will still take out most alarm systems in use today. The smart guy in the black outfit that we see in the movies or on TV who might have a jammer is more likely targeting specific items and much higher value properties that invariably have special security systems.

      While it’s important to discuss what could happen, it’s equally important to discuss what has happened, and what is happening today. Cell must be extremely rare, because if it is occurring, we are not aware of it. In fact, after more than 20 years in this industry, I have never heard of a cellular jamming resulting in a burglary that was not detected. But I have heard of many cut phone lines – and more all the time. And when it comes to traditional phone lines, they are going away at a remarkable rate. The major carriers (including AT&T) have even petitioned the FCC for a “sunset” provision that will allow the carriers to stop supporting these “hard copper” phone lines. Internet alarm communication is not sufficiently reliable, as is generally agreed by the alarm industry: even ADT does not use it. And the companies who use Internet monitoring (such as Comcast) as the primary channel don’t report the loss of Internet connectivity outside the home, either through interactive monitoring or to the central station, since this loss happens all too frequently.

      That leaves cellular monitoring as the safest and most reliable method – and FrontPoint is 100% for alarm signal transmission. The exposure of cellular to being defeated is minimal, as proven by actual experience, and is expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future. Thanks again for your question.

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