New Dialing Procedure for Texas Customers

Courtesy of AICC

Ten-digit dialing instituted to facilitate access to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Source: Texas Public Utility Commission)

LUBBOCK, Texas (NEWS RELEASE) – Starting on April 24, 2021, Texans with phone numbers in the 254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915 and 940 area codes should get in the habit of dialing 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls.

On July 16, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission  issued an Order (FCC 20-100) approving 988 as the three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Order requires all telecommunications providers (including telecommunications carriers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol [VoIP] providers, and one-way VoIP providers [covered providers]) to make any network changes necessary to ensure 988 access by July 16, 2022.

Several Texas area codes (254, 361, 409, 806, 830, 915 and 940) have numbers with a 988 prefix.  Therefore, those areas must transition from seven-digit to 10-digit local dialing. (Areas shown in yellow on this map are not affected by this change.)

April 24, 2021 marks the beginning of a “permissive dialing period” in which callers in those area codes can still complete a call with seven-digit dialing. When that period expires on October 24, 2021, only calls dialed with ten digits will be connected.

After the permissive dialing period, local calls dialed with only seven digits will reach a recording prompting them to hang up and dial again using both the area code with the seven-digit telephone number.

What other changes need to be made?

Important safety and security equipment, such as medical alert devices, and alarm and security systems must be programmed to use 10-digit dialing.  Many systems operate on 10-digit dialing by default, but some older equipment may still use seven-digits.  Please contact your medical alert or security provider if you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed to accommodate the upcoming change to 10-digit local dialing.  Any needed reprogramming of alarm and home security equipment must be done during the permissive dialing period from April 24, 2021 to October 24, 2021 to avoid interruption of those services.

Some other examples of services that may need to be re-programmed are:

  • life safety systems or medical monitoring devices
  • PBXs
  • fax machines
  • Internet dial-up numbers
  • fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates
  • speed dialers
  • mobile or other wireless phone contact lists
  • call forwarding settings
  • voicemail services and other similar functions

Customers should also ensure the area code is included in all other places where a telephone number is displayed like their websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, and even personal or pet ID tags.

What will remain the same?

  • Telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed
  • Customers will continue to dial 1+ the area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls
  • Customers will continue to dial a prefix (such as “9”) when dialing from a multi-line telephone system (e.g., in a hotel, office building, etc.) as required
  • Customers can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services)
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, or 811 are currently available in one’s community, they can still be dialed with just three digits
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) even after the 988 code is in effect.

Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

To learn more, visit the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) website at https://www.nationalnanpa.com/transition_to_10_digit_dialing_for_988/index.html, email NANPA at 988@somos.com with questions about the dialing procedure change, or visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.

Georgia Joins List of States Banning Fines for Alarm Companies When Customers Generate a False Alarm

Atlanta, Georgia (April 1, 2021) – The Georgia General Assembly has approved a bill that would ban counties or municipal corporations from fining alarm companies for false alarms generated by a customer and through no fault of the alarm system’s contractor.

“This bill has wider implications than for just our industry,” said John Loud, Vice President of Electronic Security Association (ESA) and President of LOUD Security Systems. “The concept of fining a company for a problem caused by its customers is the equivalent of sending someone’s speeding ticket to Ford and sets a precedent that could be a threat to many industries.”

“These policies do little to change user behavior, deny the user the right to confront their accuser and access to due process, and fines an innocent party for the actions of another,” said Stan Martin, Executive Director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC).

The introduction of the legislation follows a bitter three-year fight after the City of Sandy Springs passed a punitive ordinance that fined alarm companies. The city’s success in defending the legislation in court caused the legislature to act. Only one other Georgia city, Brookhaven, followed Sandy Springs’ lead.

A number of other states have passed bills similar to the Georgia bill in recent years including California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Tennessee and Iowa.

“There has never been any evidence that fining alarm companies was any more effective than the model alarm ordinance that is widely utilized nationally and endorsed by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police,” said Martin.

“The model ordinance, which fines alarm users, obtains an average 60% reduction in false dispatches and impacts those causing most of the problems. In fact, 85% of alarm systems generate no calls to the police in any given year.”

Under the law companies are responsible for false alarms they cause due to faulty equipment or installation or failure to use a mandated system requiring two calls to an alarm site before notifying police.

“Common sense prevailed,” said Loud. “Our industry stands ready to work with any community that wishes to reduce unnecessary dispatches with a proven model and experts ready to assist.”

Shared by: David Margulies, PRExperts

Support Industry-wide Appeal for AT&T 3G Sunset Extension

The Monitoring Association (TMA) is taking part in an industry-wide advocacy campaign calling for AT&T to delay their 3G sunset, which is currently set for February 2022. The campaign is being coordinated and led by the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), which is chaired by longtime TMA member Lou Fiore.

While the AICC has been in communication with the various House and Senate Committee staff with jurisdiction over telecom issues, it is important that Committee staff for the members hear from you directly – especially if you have a significant presence or customer base in their state, or even better, House members in your district. They need to know that this is a real problem that will impact the safety of life and property, as well as the safety and health of the homebound individuals who they represent.

AICC has put together a list of key members on the House and Senate Committees, as well as the Committee staff that is working on these issues and a letter template for you to send. It is important that you contact both the staff of the representatives on the key committees and the full Committee staff.

A number of you have responded to an earlier request, but we need what has been a trickle to become a flood. We are seeing some positive responses from Members of Congress, but it’s not enough. Please, if you haven’t done so, send an email as directed and ask all your employees to do the same.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Our lobbyist Bill Signer, AICC Chair Lou Fiore, or I will endeavor to assist you.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Sincerely,

Celia T. Besore
Executive Director, TMA
cbesore@tma.us | (703) 660-4913

OUR ASK:

Send the letter template, linked below, to the House and Senate representatives in states where your company does business, as well as the full Committee staff. Pass along the resources to your employees to do the same.

RESOURCES:

  1. Full Introduction Letter
  2. Contact List
  3. Letter Template
  4. Industry and Issue Backgrounder

ABOUT AICC:

The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), a committee of The Monitoring Association (TMA), is composed of representatives of TMA, the Electronic Security Association (ESA), the Security Industry Association (SIA) and major alarm companies and manufacturers. The AICC chair is Louis T. Fiore, L.T. Fiore, Inc. (ltfiore@aol.com).

 

TMA Past President Named ESA’s 2019 Person of the Year

The Electronic Security Association (ESA) presented its 2019 Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award to TMA Past President Bud Wulforst in honor of his lifetime of achievements in the security industry. Wulforst has been involved in ESA throughout the years as part of many initiatives and as a mentor to other businesspeople in the industry. 

Upon receiving his award, Wulforst stated, “I’m truly humbled as we stand here with 50 years of award recipients. I am so very proud to receive this wonderful ESA award. I’ve learned so much from so many over the years,” said Wulforst as he received the award. The associations are the catalyst for bringing it all together. The power of networking and participating in our associations should never be underestimated. When I say thank you, I say thank you to you all.”

TMA extends its sincere congratulations to Wulforst.

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