Security System and self monitoring

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Hi everyone,

Me and my wife are wanting to put an alarm system in our home, but we
live in a fairly good neighborhood, and though none of my neighbors
(some living there for 30+ years) know of any problems in the
neighborhood or surrounding streets, we'd feel more comfortable with
some sort of alarm system.

I know Brinks and ADT have remote monitoring, but I'd like something I
can monitor myself without monthly fee's.  Ideally I'd love to have
something with window and door scensors plus glass break alarms, but
the perks I'd love to get are something that'll connect to my computer
and either send a page to me or better yet just call 911 with an
automatic message asking for help.  All Brinks and ADT do is this,
isn't it??? Why pay them if a system can be setup to do this for me.

Thanks for any suggestions, but being a rookie in this field I'm not
sure what's available out there.  I guess for me simply having an alarm
that sets off an alarm when the circuit around the doors and windows
breaks would work, but the perks of notification would be nice :)

Thanks for any ideas or thoughts.

Sam Alex

Re: Security System and self monitoring
Sir, I won't comment on the idea of "self monitoring" other than to refer
you to a page that might or might not provide some useful thoughts on the
matter. If you require a system that is non monitored, you likely will have
to search out a local company that does this, or do it yourself.

Home Security Metal Products
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Re: Security System and self monitoring

What does this mean: "14.95 monthly plus GST ($16)" ?
Is GST a tax?

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Re: Security System and self monitoring
Yeah, its a General Sales Tax of 7% that all Canadians are screwed with and
applies to pretty much everything we buy....on top of a myriad of other
taxes, which makes us one of the most heavily taxed countries in the
So if we initially pay something for a product, then we pay a Provincial tax
of 8% on it, then the GST is applied to both the original item AND the PST,
so we are taxed on tax. Monitoring however, doesn't require PST.


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Re: Security System and self monitoring
Almost as messy as here.

When I sell a system I have to charge State & City sales tax - state is
same, but each city is different.

When I sell monitoring I have to charge telecommunications tax, but only by
city.'s the kicker...I operate in 10+ cities and all have different
sales/telecommunications tax....pain in the butt...every 19th of the month
it's a mad scramble to calculate all this crap.

Oh yeah, and some cities (the smaller ones) have their tax collected by the
state (they all should it would simplify stuff for us).

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Re: Security System and self monitoring
Crash Gordon wrote:
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Do you have to charge "telecommunications tax" when the monitoring link
is internet only or VoIP?

Re: Security System and self monitoring
Dunno. I won't do VOIP, and I don't have interenet monitoring set up yet -
should be any day now.

That's an interesting question though. I wonder if VOIP users are paying
tele taxes presently? I would think so..but dunno.

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Re: Security System and self monitoring
Crash Gordon wrote:
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Nope, they're not.  The FCC said last year and in subsequent rulings
that VoIP is an "unregulated information service" and not subject to
traditional state public utility control or oversight.

Re: Security System and self monitoring

Travis Jordan wrote:
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I've wondered about this.
For instance, up until a couple of years ago, VoIP wasn't important.
The standard Telco bills run rampant with surcharges, state and Fed
taxes, and fees. And on cell phones, a 911 surcharge  and some such
other surcharge to help pay for people to have cellular service in
rural areas, so I am told.(Wha ?)

If VoIP is not taxable, and it begins to seriously compete with the
Telcos, ........... Somewhere, sometime, someone, is going to miss the
revenue and ...... guess what's going to get taxed?  I'm also waiting
for the tax revenue to be missed by all of the internet purchases.
Anyone want to make bets on when that little balloon is going to burst?

Isn't it all just a case of ......... (whisper) Let's just let them all
get used to using it, until they can't do without it and it becomes a
necessity. THENNNNN we'll REALLY blast them with more taxes and
surcharges than we ever could of charged doin it the old way. (Chuckle,
chuckle, wringing hands with a greedy, sinister grin)

Re: Security System and self monitoring
That's right for now, voip don't pay into the systems they are using.
That's changing.  PSTN is now open to voip but they have to pay like
everyone else.  So those low voip rates are going up if you want 9-1-1
service.  Add another buck or two a month.  Number portability has
become a issue when people find out they can port to voip but voip
didn't have to port to another service.  People complain and now voip
will have to pay and provide for the service, add another dollar or 2 a
Connectivity was favorable to voip since they could lease local lines
at a cost lower from what the phone company paid to maintain them.
That's gone with the last FCC ruling.  Voip must pay market rates.  Add
another dollar or 2 to the monthly bill.
Let's not forget that voip has ZERO standards that they have to meet.
If state and federal agencies get too many complaints they will want to
cover their cost and that means voip paying just like the phone
Voip is cheap 'cause it's not phone service, anyone who thinks it is or
that it will conquer the world is full of it. Voip is getting a second
look now that people have been nearly killed using it and because it's
not "REAL" phone service, and rates are going up as they start paying
their way and the free rides end.

Re: Security System and self monitoring
The client only saves on long distance right? You still have to have a
network connection and pay for that right?

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I disagree.  VoIP providers like Vonage spend millions every
month on telephone service.  Any VoIP call to a standard
telephone line requires a conventional phone line at some

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AFAIK< that's not correct, friend.  911 service is not subject to
extra charges.

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IME conventional telcos have rarely met the established
standards.  As to price increases, that's just part of
telecommunications service -- no matter what type of line you

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Huh?  Cost of getting consumer complaints???  Every state DPUC
I've ever known mainly ignores consumer complaints.  They do an
excellent job of rubber-stamping telco rate hike requests though.

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Those of us who actually use VoIP every day might tend to
disagree with you.  I've had the service for over a year.  At
first there were major quality and reliability issues so I only
used it as an overflow for my POTS lines.

The service has improved to the point where it is now *almost* as
good as conventional telco service.  It won't work at all if the
power fails so it isn't as safe as a POTS line.  Digital alarm
monitoring signals seem to have trouble using VoIP too so it's
not ideal for that purpose either.  However, as a voice telecom
service it's excellent.  It's also much less expensive than POTS.

The near future will, IMO, see a significant growth in VoIP
usage.  I'm particularly interested in developing services, such
as auto-attendant system.

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Can't afford the broad speed Internet service that VoIP requires,


Robert L Bass

Bass Burglar Alarms
The Online DIY Store

Re: Security System and self monitoring
Voip providers do pay for telco lines but they paid the regulated
competition rate for access lines.  Since the FCC said they are not
phone service, they are no longer entitled to the super discounted rate
mandated to open local phone service to competition.  So they didn't
want to be regulated as a phone service but wanted the cheap cost of
being a competing phone service.  Can't have it both ways.  Damn good
the judge rule they must pay market rates and can't ride the coat tails
of competitor pricing if they also claim to not be a phone company.
Get out the checkbook.

Now Mr. Robert, 911 service is NOT free.  It cost to operate the PSTN
and every POTS and Cell customer pays to maintain it.  Voip wants to
use it, let them pay like everyone else.  Oh so they have to pay and
raise rates, gee too bad!

You said it best; it's almost as good.  But in an emergency almost
isn't good enough!  Vonage hid behind the cheap rates and didn't even
tell people that their service was sub-standard and NOT at all like
POTS service. It took the hellish attack in Texas for them to admit to
their customers that they really didn't have phone service so 911
didn't really work.  Now they are complaining (like all voip providers)
that they may not be able to meet the requirement to have their
customer's acknowledge the shortfalls in voip.  They are even
complaining that the cost to access PSTN will force them to raise rate.
 Small voip providers said they may be forced to stop offering voip
service because of cost.  Voip dodged the bullet when those folks
survived, imagine if they both died?  It's not funny but how much did
those folks save considering their ordeal?  What did they do when they
were attacked, they picked up their phone and dialed 9-1-1.  What they
got was nothing, the nothing that came with using an "unregulated
information service" over REAL phone service.

If voip wants to act like a phone company they need to pay like a phone
company. All voip has to offer is cheap rates and now they are pissed
cause they have to pay for what they were hoping would be free to them.

Just to let you know, I have high speed internet and my POTS line is
free, but I still pay the surcharges and fees associated with
maintaining the public service portion of my service.  If I have to
pay, so should voip.

Re: Security System and self monitoring
Most people who are aware of VOIP think that it's cheap primarily
because of some great digital technological breakthrough.  They don't
realize that virtually all voice traffic has been digital for a very
long time.  In the case of existing phone lines, the A/D was done at
the switch at the local phone company.  From there on through the
network it was all handled digitally, running through exactly the same
kind of fiber optic lines and other high speed digital lines as the
internet, until it was converted back to analog at the far end.  The
big difference was that the phone system guarantees that every digital
sample arrives at the other end at precise intervals that correspond to
the 8khz sampling rate.  With VOIP, the packets can be routed all over
the place, with no guarantee that they will get there at the right
time.  That's a big difference in quality of service.

Most people who went to VOIP did not do it to avoid the $20 monthly
local phone service fee.  The did it because they had high toll call
bills, with a lot of that likely being over seas calls.  So what they
were avoiding was the regulated tariff structure, both domestic and
international, at the the expense of reliability.  Along the way, many
found out that there are in fact some serious problems, like the 911
issue and call quality.  And also, since we're on the subject of call
monitoring, do the major monitoring services work with VOIP?  I know as
of a couple years ago, they had a policy of not supporting it.  The
domestic long distance cost has dropped sharply over the last few
years, with most providers now offering some form of bulk or unlimited
calling packages at more reasonable rates, so the incentive to switch
keeps dropping.

And today statements like:

"Those of us who actually use VoIP every day might tend to
disagree with you.  I've had the service for over a year.  At
first there were major quality and reliability issues so I only
used it as an overflow for my POTS lines. "

hardly bring a ringing endorsement.  If there were major quality and
reliability issues that recently, I'll just stick with Verizon.

Re: Security System and self monitoring
And then there is the question of reliability of the Internet service on
which VoIP depends.  When we lived in NY, our phone service
(Nynex/BA/Verizon) was more reliable than our Internet service
(CableVision/Optimum Online), and in the two years we've been in W.
Michigan our phone service (SBC) has been more reliable than our
Internet service (Charter). In both places interruption to Internet
service has been rare (but once as long as 36 hrs in NY), but I wouldn't
want to have to depend on my ISP for phone service.


On 09/11/05 06:15 am tossed the following
ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

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Re: Security System and self monitoring
There are several different grades of Internet service. They range from
aDSL, cable modems, and satellite. They offer NO guarantee of up time, hence
the low cost. sDSL, T-1, and other fractional T services offer guaranteed up
time, typically 99.99 percent. Unless you're dependant on running your
business out of your home, typically, you choose the cheapest service you
can find. Where a business, typically, chooses the higher dependability of
Of course nothing, including anything you own electronic, is guaranteed to
work all the time.
It's knowing when it doesn't that makes the Internet a better choice for
routing alarm signals, and either radio back-up, or cellular back-up, that
further ensures communication.
People who choose to cancel land lines, and place a VoIP service as their
only form of communication to the outside world, aren't very smart. There
isn't a single business in the US that operates with that kind of mentality.
VoIP is a product designed to cut communication costs, not replace them. The
reliability just isn't there yet, residentially.

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Re: Security System and self monitoring
So . . . you can pay for your health care (and other benefits) a little
bit at a time (in GST) or (as in the USA) you can pay for it in
insurance premiums, co-pays, etc. running to many thousands of dollars a
year (perhaps even thousands a month: we're paying well over $1000 a
month, and I don't doubt that some people are paying even more).


On 09/09/05 11:58 am R.H.Campbell tossed the following ingredients into
the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

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Re: Security System and self monitoring
I doubt very much of the GST goes towards our health care system. If it did,
we wouldn't have the problems we do with the system. Instead they p*ss it
away on lots of "feel good" programs that only serve to buy them votes in
the next election. The GST and the revenue collected from road tax go into
that endless pot of taxpayers money that forms the trough that our
parliamentary pigs feed on...


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Re: Security System and self monitoring
Alex wrote:
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In my community the 911 system will not accept automated calls for
response.  There has to be a person on the other end of the line.  If
you try using an automated system you may get a response, but you will
also get a fine.

The central station monitoring companies use a 'call list', and if they
don't get a response from the number(s) on the call list then they call
the police (or fire, or whatever).

There are self-monitored systems available.  Try Google.

Re: Security System and self monitoring
Most municipalities forbid dialers with voice messages to be transmitted to
police/fire/911 etc. If you want dispatch you'll have to go through
monitoring station.

You can program most alarms to page you on your pager, though this has it's
quirks. You can also purchase a voice module that will transmit message to
your cell phone...of course if it doesnt get through to your cell you wont
get the message. There are a lot of drawbacks to "self-monitoring".

No...Brinks, ADT etc, do not send voice messages to 911. In my area our
central stations are given special phone numbers to dial into for
dispatch...not 911, and not end-user numbers.

Do  you intend to install this yourself, or try to find an installing
company that will install a "local" alarm system? You may have trouble if
the latter is true.


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