You can read all of our articles on our website. Having trouble getting our emails?   Change your spam controls and white list 
Comment on Spectrum exit from alarm industry
January 25, 2020
Comment on Spectrums exit from alarm industry
            You may have heard that Charter Communications was shutting down its Spectrum Home Security service, referring its customers to other providers.  One article refers to Charter as a MSO [multiple system operator], which I suppose means it does more than alarms.  In fact, alarms is not its main business and undoubtedly pales in comparison to its communication services and other interests.  The alarm industry perceives this as good news because additional competition is not welcome, especially from a competitor who is well-heeled.  Competition is simply not on a level playing field.
            Communication businesses [telephone service providers for the most part] have considered the alarm industry for a long time.  I am not sure which ones made the leap, but reportedly Comcast successfully entered and remains in the alarm industry.  
            The initial attraction for these MSOs was that they already had wiring in the home connected to communication [the telephone or cable], had 24/7 operations and operator and technicians, and may as well offer to connect security devices and monitor the system.  I believe that thinking faded fast once the MSOs were faced with the potential exposure for liability.  It’s one thing for a phone line or television transmission to fail and remain out of service until the tech shows up for his scheduled appointment between 10am Monday and 4Pm Friday [and you better be home or he’s not staying].  Maybe it was the issue retraining operators who were used to hour or more delays on in-coming phone calls for service.  I don’t think alarm customers would be particularly receptive to a Monitoring Center recording advising that “if this is an emergency hang up and call 911”.  I’ve noticed that such advice is now offered on most doctor’s recorded answering service.  Of course “service providers” can cut down that advice with just two words, and you can guess what they are, the second one being YOU.  
            Alarm customers are more demanding than MSOs are used to, and the consequences of poor service are far more severe.  Finally, it’s much harder to make a buck, so why bother?  Hence the exit from the alarm industry.
            Of course MSOs do have huge customer base.  Why not tap into that customer base and offer, at the very least, DIY equipment, and then offer to monitor those systems?  Seems like a good idea, especially if you’re enamored with the RMR model for getting rich.   But the MSOs missed a few issues here too.  First, most of their customers hate them; they do business with them because of the limited competition and the necessity of the service.  Got to have TV and Internet.  But alarm systems and security is another matter.  There are plenty of providers to do business with.  Customers are bombarded with ads all day long promising to protect family and property.  Does a TV or Internet provider really need that liability exposure?  Maybe it’s just easier to jack up the rate for the TV service.
            Alarm companies have been in panic mode since DIY hit the market.  Smart companies got on the band wagon offering DIY as part of the professional package.  I don’t see the MSOs affecting most alarm companies, and by most I mean those that provide good security service for a fair price. There will always be a market for your skills.  Keep in mind that DIY doesn’t replace a fire alarm system or a professionally installed system.  DIY seems to be for a primarily a residential market, not commercial.  Point is, there is and there is going to be for the foreseeable future, plenty of business, and RMR growth, for the professional alarm company.
    Thanks to Wayne Wahrsager [NY]and Howard Sharpe​  [CA] for bringing this topic to my attention.
     On Monday, January 27, 2020, the article is going to discuss real multiples for 2019.  A topic dear to everyone.

To order up to date Standard Form Alarm /  Security / Fire and related Agreements, click here:
You can check out the program and sign up here: or contact our Program Coordinator Stacy Spector, Esq at 516 747 6700 x 304.
NOTICE:  You can always read our Articles on our website at
THE ALARM EXCHANGEalarm classifieds alarm security contracts

    This area is reserved for alarm classifieds, alarm company announcements, solicitations, offers, etc. 
    There is no charge to post a listing here.Include your contact information, phone, email and web site.  If you would like to submit a post, please send an email to  To create a reciprocal link to our website, click here.

Getting on our Email List / Email Articles archived: 
    Many of you are forwarding these emails to friends or asking that others be added to the list.  Sign up for our daily newsletter here: Sign Up.  You can read articles and order alarm contracts on our web site
Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301