Alarm Industry Response to Net Neutrality Debate

These materials have been posted to help CSAA members respond to the February 2015 debate about Net Neutrality. Scroll down to see which Members of Congress should be contacted. If you reside or work in their districts or states, please consider contacting them before February 26. You can use the sample letter below to start, but it’s important to tell your story in your correspondence, so personalize the letter as much as possible. For assistance, CSAA members should contact Lou Fiore.

  • Sample Letter to Contact Key Members of Congress
  • Alarm Industry Position on Net Neutrality
  • 1996 Telecommunications Act, Section 275
  • Which Members of Congress Should Be Contacted

Sample Letter for Contacting Your Member of Congress

Dear Congressman/Senator,

I am writing to express my concerns about the issue of net neutrality.

I own a small business (defined as less than 500 employees) that [installs/monitors] alarm systems in homes and businesses. The alarm industry, of which I am a member, is a critical part of the public safety network. Our service is crucial to ensuring that emergency services are deployed promptly and appropriately.

As an industry, we of course welcome competition — on a level playing field. We are concerned that when broadband and wireless providers offer the same alarm and video monitoring services as we do, fair competition will not exist in practice. As broadband and wireless providers enter the business, I am concerned that they will use their control of the network to gain an unfair competitive advantage. If these companies do so, our customers will be at risk and small companies like mine could be driven out of business.

Here is a little history. Congress enacted Section 275 as part of the Telecommunication Act of 1996 because it recognized that the alarm industry would be vulnerable to anticompetitive practices by a service provider engaged in alarm monitoring. Section 275 requires a carrier engaged in alarm monitoring to: provide alarm companies with the same services they provide their affiliates on a nondiscriminatory basis; not engage in cross subsidization; and not use our customer data to market their own alarm services. Section 275 also provides for an expedited complaint process at the FCC.

These safeguards are critical to protecting the thousands of small businesses that comprise the alarm monitoring industry – and to protecting their customers.

As you move forward on the Net Neutrality issue and/or as you rewrite the Telecommunications Act, we urge you to retain and modernize Section 275 so that it applies to broadband, wireless, and any future network service providers.

Sincerely yours,

Your Name

Find your representatives and send email at congress.org.

Alarm Industry Position on Net Neutrality

  • The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) advocates on behalf of the burglar and fire alarm industry. It is comprised of the Central Station Alarm Association (AICC), Electronic Security Association (ESA), and the Securities Industries Association (SIA), which includes major US manufacturing companies and associated industry members. Together, they represent the installers, monitors, and manufacturers of alarm equipment.
  • The alarm industry protects the life, safety and property of some 30 million homes and businesses. We are the largest providers of Medical Emergency Response Systems that protect seniors.
  • We are an integral part of the public safety network, and play a key role in emergency response during a national emergency such as 9/11, hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes. We work closely with the police, fire, and emergency medical responders to ensure prompt dispatch of emergency personnel. Of equal importance, we are critical to ensuring that emergency personnel are not erroneously dispatched.
  • Our ability to respond promptly to a fire or break in can mean the difference between the life and death and/or whether a property is destroyed by fire.
  • The alarm industry is a highly competitive business that includes both large and small businesses that have no problem competing on a level playing field. Historically, we have used traditional landline services and have millions of customers who are dependent upon local exchange carriers. The industry has joined the transition to broadband and wireless services for alarm and video monitoring, and is manufacturing and installing equipment that is compatible with those services.
  • We commend the Committee’s Net Neutrality draft for barring anticompetitive activities, but we are concerned that by the time the FCC resolves a complaint, our customers’ lives and property will be placed at risk and many of the small businesses in our industry will be driven out of business.
  • Our primary concern is that broadband and wireless network providers are increasingly offering services that compete with us in providing home and business security services. Without some protection for smaller players, these network providers will have an incentive to favor their own security services and “throttle” or “block” our emergency signals in order to gain a competitive advantage.
  • Recognizing the inherent conflict of interest present when a common carrier offers the same services as its customers, Congress in 1996, included Section 275 (b), (c), and (d) in their rewrite of the Communications Act. Section 275 (b), (c), and (d) provides a specific non-discrimination requirement, as well as an expedited hearing process for the alarm industry. We urge the Committee to include Section 275 (b)’s protections in your Net Neutrality bill.

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996: SEC. 275. ALARM MONITORING SERVICES.

(a) DELAYED ENTRY INTO ALARM MONITORING-

(1) PROHIBITION- No Bell operating company or affiliate thereof shall engage in the provision of alarm monitoring services before the date which is 5 years after the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

(2) EXISTING ACTIVITIES- Paragraph (1) does not prohibit or limit the provision, directly or through an affiliate, of alarm monitoring services by a Bell operating company that was engaged in providing alarm monitoring services as of November 30, 1995, directly or through an affiliate. Such Bell operating company or affiliate may not acquire any equity interest in, or obtain financial control of, any unaffiliated alarm monitoring service entity after November 30, 1995, and until 5 years after the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, except that this sentence shall not prohibit an exchange of customers for the customers of an unaffiliated alarm monitoring service entity.

(b) NONDISCRIMINATION- An incumbent local exchange carrier (as defined in section 251(h)) engaged in the provision of alarm monitoring services shall–

(1) provide nonaffiliated entities, upon reasonable request, with the network services it provides to its own alarm monitoring operations, on nondiscriminatory terms and conditions; and

(2) not subsidize its alarm monitoring services either directly or indirectly from telephone exchange service operations.

(c) EXPEDITED CONSIDERATION OF COMPLAINTS- The Commission shall establish procedures for the receipt and review of complaints concerning violations of subsection (b) or the regulations thereunder that result in material financial harm to a provider of alarm monitoring service. Such procedures shall ensure that the Commission will make a final determination with respect to any such complaint within 120 days after receipt of the complaint. If the complaint contains an appropriate showing that the alleged violation occurred, as determined by the Commission in accordance with such regulations, the Commission shall, within 60 days after receipt of the complaint, order the incumbent local exchange carrier (as defined in section 251(h)) and its affiliates to cease engaging in such violation pending such final determination.

(d) USE OF DATA- A local exchange carrier may not record or use in any fashion the occurrence or contents of calls received by providers of alarm monitoring services for the purposes of marketing such services on behalf of such local exchange carrier, or any other entity. Any regulations necessary to enforce this subsection shall be issued initially within 6 months after the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

(e) DEFINITION OF ALARM MONITORING SERVICE- The term `alarm monitoring service’ means a service that uses a device located at a residence, place of business, or other fixed premises–

(1) to receive signals from other devices located at or about such premises regarding a possible threat at such premises to life, safety, or property, from burglary, fire, vandalism, bodily injury, or other emergency, and

(2) to transmit a signal regarding such threat by means of transmission facilities of a local exchange carrier or one of its affiliates to a remote monitoring center to alert a person at such center of the need to inform the customer or another person or police, fire, rescue, security, or public safety personnel of such threat, but does not include a service that uses a medical monitoring device attached to an individual for the automatic surveillance of an ongoing medical condition.

 

District Member Party Telecom LA Telecom LA Email Phone Building Office
CA-6 Doris Matsui D Kyle Victor kyle.victor@mail.house.gov (202) 225-7163 Rayburn 2311
CA-9 Jerry McNerney D Shilpa Rajan shilpa.rajan@mail.house.gov (202) 225-1947 Rayburn 2265
CA-18 Anna G. Eshoo D David Grossman david.grossman@mail.house.gov (202) 225-8104 Cannon 241
CA-24 Lois Capps D Aaron Shapiro aaron.shapiro@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3601 Rayburn 2231
CA-29 Tony Cardenas D Miguel Franco miguel.franco@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6131 Longworth 1510
CO-1 Diana DeGette D Tommy Walker tommy.walker@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4431 Rayburn 2368
FL-12 Gus Bilirakis R Jeremy Pederson jeremy.pederson@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5755 Rayburn 2112
FL-14 Kathy Castor D Kevin Karpay kevin.karpay@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3376 Cannon 205
FL-18 Patrick Murphy D Jordan Blumenthal jordan.blumenthal@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3026 Cannon 211
IL-1 Bobby L. Rush D Nishith Pandya nishith.pandya@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4372 Rayburn 2188
IL-9 Jan Schakowsky D Brian Laughlin brian.laughlin@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2111 Rayburn 2367
IL-15 John Shimkus R Greta Joynes greta.joynes@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5271 Rayburn 2217
IL-16 Adam Kinzinger R Josh Baggett josh.baggett@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3635 Longworth 1221
IN-5 Susan W. Brooks R Emily Bell emily.bell@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2276 Longworth 1505
IN-8 Larry Bucshon R Jeffrey Lucas jeffrey.lucas@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4636 Longworth 1005
KS-4 Mike Pompeo R Aaron Ringel aaron.ringel@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6216 Cannon 436
KY-1 Edward Whitfield R Taylor Booth taylor.booth@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3115 Rayburn 2184
KY-2 Brett Guthrie R Megan Jackson megan.jackson@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3501 Rayburn 2434
KY-3 John Yarmuth D Jessica Phelps jessica.phelps@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5401 Cannon 403
LA-1 Steve Scalise R Darren Achord darren.achord@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3015 Rayburn 2338
MD-3 John Sarbanes D Raymond O’Mara raymond.omara@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4016 Rayburn 2444
MA-4 Joseph Kennedy III D Sarah Curtis sarah.curtis@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5931 Cannon 306
MI-6 Fred Upton R David Redl david.redl@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3761 Rayburn 2183
MS-3 Gregg Harper R Jordan Dawns jordan.dawns@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5031 Cannon 307
MO-7 Billy Long R Ben Elleson ben.elleson@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6536 Longworth 1541
NJ-6 Frank Pallone, Jr. D Tiffany Guarascio tiffany.guarascio@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4671 Cannon 237
NJ-7 Leonard Lance R Ryan Farrell ryan.farrell@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5361 Rayburn 2352
NM-3 Ben Ray Lujan D Graham Mason graham.mason@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6190 Rayburn 2446
NY-9 Yvette Clarke D Asi Ofosu asi.ofosu@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6231 Rayburn 2351
NY-16 Eliot Engel D Catherine Barnao catherine.barnao@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2464 Rayburn 2462
NY-20 Paul Tonko D Brendan Larkin brendan.larkin@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5076 Rayburn 2463
NY-27 Chris Collins R Jeffrey Freeland jeff.freeland@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5265 Longworth 1117
NC-1 G.K. Butterfield D Saul Hernandez saul.hernandez@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3101 Rayburn 2305
NC-2 Renee Ellmers R Adam Wood adam.wood@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4531 Longworth 1210
NC-8 Richard Hudson R Curtis Rhyne curtis.rhyne@mail.house.gov (202) 225-3715 Cannon 429
ND-1 Kevin Cramer R Mark Gruman mark.gruman@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2611 Longworth 1032
OH-5 Bob Latta R Rachel Schwegman rachel.schwegman@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6405 Rayburn 2448
OH-6 Bill Johnson R Elise Conner elise.connor@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5705 Longworth 1710
OK-2 Markwayne Mullin R Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2701 Longworth 1113
OR-2 Greg Walden R Ray Baum ray.baum@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6730 Rayburn 2185
OR-5 Kurt Schrader D Chris Huckleberry huck@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5711 Rayburn 2431
PA-14 Mike Doyle D Philip Murphy philip.murphy@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2135 Cannon 239
PA-16 Joe Pitts R Carson Middleton carson.middleton@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2411 Cannon 420
TN-7 Marsha Blackburn R Charles Flint charles.flint@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2811 Rayburn 2266
TX-6 Joe L. Barton R Emmanual Guillory emmanual.guillory@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2002 Rayburn 2107
TX-17 Bill Flores R Jon Oehman jon.oehman@mail.house.gov (202) 225-6105 Longworth 1030
TX-22 Pete Olson R Sarah Whiting sarah.whiting@mail.house.gov (202) 225-5951 Rayburn 2133
TX-26 Michael C. Burgess R David Lieberman david.lieberman@mail.house.gov (202) 225-7772 Rayburn 2336
TX-29 Gene Green D Sergio Espinosa sergio.espinosa@mail.house.gov (202) 225-1688 Rayburn 2470
VT-1 Peter Welch D Patrick Satalin patrick.satalin@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4115 Rayburn 2303
WA-5 Cathy McMorris Rodgers R Melanie Steele melanie.steele@mail.house.gov (202) 225-2006 Cannon 203
WV-1 David McKinley R Cory Toth cory.toth@mail.house.gov (202) 225-4172 Cannon 412
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