Something
happened during the month just gone that will change alarm monitoring in the
short term and monitoring companies and industry associations need to be paying
serious attention. That’s because Telstra, which owns the nation’s switched
PSTN infrastructure, has signed a heads of agreement with the government that
will see its copper cable plant closed down and all its customers handed over
to the National Broadband Network.

Telstra’s move to
close down all fixed line comms, including POTS support to ten millions
customers, is a move that will change telecommunications in this country
forever and monitoring companies and their customers will need to make changes
to their solutions and systems in order to guarantee consistency of service and
quality of service.

The way the
changes will work is that NBNCo will pay Telstra to use its ducts, pits,
conduits and space in its exchanges for its fibre-to-the-premises broadband
network.

Minister for
Communications, Stephen Conroy said last month the deal would reduce the cost
of building the network and ensure more of it was underground. As part of the
deal, Telstra will transfer customers from its copper and hybrid fibre coaxial
cable networks to the new network in return for further payments from NBNCo.

Once all this is
done, Telstra will decommission its copper and cable networks, allowing it to
concentrate on providing retail services and mobile and wireless services. And
when those copper and cable services are gone, POTS and digital dialler, will
be no more.

For end users,
future proofing their monitoring solutions is now a real priority and
monitoring companies and bureau installers need to either push consumers
towards the Internet or onto wireless networks – or at the very least install
alarm panels that will allow the fastest possible transition when the time
comes.

The best
commercial solutions in the future will be high poll wireless with dual SIMs
reporting over 2 networks possibly supported by an Internet-based backup. For
residential applications, the closure of PSTN and the demise of dialler will
make it easier to traverse the Internet. Currently, there are issues with
sharing copper lines with Internet, phone and dialler. A straight network
connection allowing backup alarm signals to be reported over the Internet would
be ideal.

Wireless is
likely to become the weapon of choice for end users looking to replace dialler
communications and competition should make costs more manageable. An issue with
straight Internet support of alarm systems was raised recently when legislation
was table in congress that would give U.S. President, Barack Obama, the power
to close down the Internet using a ‘kill switch’.

The U.S.
considers the Internet a vital national asset and it’s tough to see an event
short of a major conflict that could see such drastic action take place, given
the importance of the service to most the world. Nonetheless this is not a
pleasant thought and end users should bear in mind that in order to guarantee
service, they should consider using Internet with wireless support – not
Internet alone – regardless of which service is employed for primary comms.