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IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
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Just out of curiosity: Phone wiring in new construction

I am wondering in new and remodel construction of homes and apartment buildings, if they are being wired for home telephone service or if they are just wiring them for cable TV and telling the few tenants who want a home phone to go with a cable company telephone offering or a VoIP offering.

With the decline of home phones, many developers/landlords may not want to pay for telephone wiring that is going to remain unused as home phones are on the decline and cable TV wiring is favorable because it can deliver higher Internet speeds and video as well as telephone.
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

As a single family home landlord I would never dream of telling the renter that they can't use the Telco for phone service. Actually we have two cable companies and the Telco, and each is different installation wise. I prefer to try to have everything pre-wired as having multiple wires nailed on the outside by the install tech is never a good solution.



nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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1 recommendation

reply to IowaCowboy

These days, people don't want phone and data jacks. If they do get a phone jack, it's usually just one for a cordless set.
Most normal people are satisfied with wireless.

Code says you must have at least 1 "communications outlet" in a dwelling, but it doesn't say what type. Given the code section it's in, they probably intended telephone. Many areas are allowing a CATV jack as the required communications outlet.

There's no really good "wireless" alternative for CATV or Satellite signal.

I used to use composite cable for pre-wires: Coax, Cat5, and FO. I don't buy composite cable any more. It sits around too long. In most houses, I might do 1 or 2 phone jacks and 8-10 CATV jacks. FO was a big waste of time. At the time, it appeared everything would go FO, but that will probably never happen. Not when air foots the bill. Nobody knew how fast wireless technology would develop.

The phone company used to wire buildings for "free". When TA96 went through, there was a significant decline in that practice. When cable companies started offering dial tone, it almost completely went away. That left building owners in charge of the wiring. We all know that most LLs are not too concerned with the communications wiring or their tenants ability to choose providers. They want whatever is cheapest for themselves.
They also get "kickbacks", which sways their decision. The cable company has been giving LL's kickbacks since the inception of CATV service. It's not a new practice. But what the CC does now is try and cock-block all other providers (phone, SAT, WISP) by bribing the LL with a percentage.

To answer your basic question, yes - there are buildings going up every day with only "one path" in. It's usually whoever provides the best kickback.

Right now it's a "free-for-all".
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



IowaCowboy
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Springfield, MA
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reply to robbin

said by robbin:

As a single family home landlord I would never dream of telling the renter that they can't use the Telco for phone service. Actually we have two cable companies and the Telco, and each is different installation wise. I prefer to try to have everything pre-wired as having multiple wires nailed on the outside by the install tech is never a good solution.

As a renter in a duplex, I have done some improvements like having the cable company install an outlet in the second bedroom (where I have a TV and the Phone/Data modem. The cable comes in through the basement and the cable companies do cut corners, the outside drop line coming from the outside went bad and instead of pulling the new line through the conduit, they pulled it around the back of the house and drilled another hole in the house. I tried reasoning with the Comcast contractor doing the burial but they would not give in. I should have said the landlord wants it installed properly (even though she is an absentee landlord that leaves me stuck doing the repairs myself at MY expense, I have to replace a bathroom sink faucet myself) and the way that they pulled the wire leaves it vulnerable to damage from the lawn mower and weed eater (at least I do the lawn as we are responsible for lawn care per rental agreement in exchange for rent discount). I switched my home phone from Verizon to Comcast and I did not tell Comcast that I have a burglar alarm as I wanted to do self install and I most likely did a better job than their installer (not to mention I installed the alarm system myself, but I had a local alarm company take over monitoring).

I will agree with you that cable techs are notorious for cutting corners. The beauty of cable phones are that they require no house wiring (other than a cable outlet) as you have a voice/data gateway that provides Internet/Wi-Fi and dial tone in one device. All the tenant has to do is plug a phone set into the back of the gateway. If an alarm system (like I have) is involved, then you have to use the inside phone wiring (always disconnect it from the telco first) as the dial tone has to pass through the RJ31X (alarm panel) first before going to the house phones to ensure line seizure by the panel.

As for the alarm system, it is a DSC Alexor with wireless sensors so installing it is like hanging a picture on the wall. My decision to install an alarm was the other apartment in my building was burglarized several years ago and some of the stuff taken was valuable as well as a neighbor (who is a cop) was broken into as well. Our house is near (but not in) a public housing complex that has some issues with crime.
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

I really don't know the legal aspects of this (I will try to check for my area) but for residential zoning I really do not think that I can prevent a tenant from subscribing to a utility provider. The Telco is one, and in this state is still under control by the Public Utility Commission. So while I do state in my lease that if they want DirectTv they CAN NOT drill any holes, I just don't think I can prevent the Telco from installing service based on lease. Multi-Family (apartment building) would be under different rules. I have to wonder if what "code" requires and what the tenant is allowed are two different things. As a landlord, each time a hole is drilled or a screw is driven it is damage to my property. It's in my interest to try to prevent that from happening.


kherr
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Collinsville, IL
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reply to IowaCowboy

If I was a renter on a fairly new structure and it wasn't wired for TV and phone in the bedrooms and living area, I'd tell the landlord why I was walking. With the cost of the wire, it's ideodict not to pre-wire. When done it's a good marketing feature to advertise pre-wired for TV and phone to keep the units full. The only thing you can count on is a wired system. If it was me I'd also pre-wire at logical places for computers also.

I have a friend who built a new house for himself and family a few years ago and only put TV in the living room. He soon realized the benefit of having TV in the bedrooms. Since he finished part the basement and drywalled the ceiling(not a drop ceiling even though he had 9' walls) there's no way to get wires across the room. His only option is to have someone somehow fish some coax across ($$$) or do it on the outside(brick).

I also don't stay in hotels that only have wifi. It's a big security problem with a wired network and wifi only multiplies them. One of these days I need to get a pocket sized firewall that Zyxel used to make(if they still make them).


robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
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ZyWall P1 -- discontinued but found a few on Amazon. I have one and it works great.



IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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reply to robbin

Like nunya See Profile said, the codes in his area require one communications outlet and most inspectors in his area consider a cable television outlet to be counted as a communications outlet (particularly since if the cable system is capable of two-way communication, as most cable systems are). Many times, landlords will enter into exclusivity agreements with cable companies and that allows them to shut out competing providers (DirecTV/Dish Network, Verizon copper/FiOS, AT&T U-Verse, etc). Many cable companies do offer telephone service. My main question was about traditional telephone service; which wiring the building for, can result in considerable expense as the telco charges for any work done on the customer side of the demarcation point. Why I am wondering is with the decline of traditional telephone/DSL if new landlords/developers are having new apartment buildings wired for phone.

As with the Cable/VoIP solution, then all you need to do is install a EMTA (also known as a Telephony Modem) and plug in a phone set/cordless phone base into the telephone port.

If I were building an apartment complex today, I would only wire the building for traditional telephone service if required by local sanitary codes. Otherwise, I'd put in a cable outlet in the living room and the bedroom except I would put two cable outlets in the master bedroom (one for a TV and one for the cable modem/EMTA).

I don't see anything in the Mass sanitary code requiring a phone jack connected to the PSTN although I have seen that you have a right to telephone service (source www.masslegalhelp.org) but the way I am interpreting it is the landlord could stick the tenants with installation charges if the tenant wishes to subscribe to telephone service. I also have seen somewhere that in Mass, a landlord must allow the local cable TV provider access to the building if one or more tenants requests cable TV (although the cost of wiring the building as MDU installs are treated differently, the landlord may tell the tenants to pay the cost of wiring).

Like nunya See Profile said, if I had to choose between providing a PSTN phone jack or a cable TV outlet, I would take the cable TV outlet as cable TV is improving technologically everyday and and has more capabilities (providing voice, TV, and high-speed internet) while traditional telephone service will be obsolete in another 10-15 years.

If Verizon offered FiOS in the local area and I was building an apartment building or new development, I would go for the FiOS as you can get higher rents as FiOS is very popular but scarce (as Verizon does not want to seem to expand it at the current time).
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


robbin
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join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

I think you missed my point. You asked

said by IowaCowboy:

I am wondering in new and remodel construction of homes and apartment buildings

Homes and apartment buildings are two different animals operating under different zoning, code, and rules in general. I don't question that a large apartment complex can have a sole provider. I question that a landlord of a single family dwelling (home) has the same ability.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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reply to kherr

said by kherr:

If I was a renter on a fairly new structure and it wasn't wired for TV and phone in the bedrooms and living area, I'd tell the landlord why I was walking. With the cost of the wire, it's ideodict not to pre-wire. When done it's a good marketing feature to advertise pre-wired for TV and phone to keep the units full. The only thing you can count on is a wired system. If it was me I'd also pre-wire at logical places for computers also.

Around here (Springfield, MA), there is no shortage of tenants but there IS a shortage of rental housing (even worse shortage of code compliant rental housing). You always hear in the news about people living in housing/apartments with multiple code violations (not to mention full of rats and roaches as well) and cannot move because they have nowhere to go. And I have heard horror stories about landlords having to fight the housing courts tooth and nail to evict problem tenants. The reason we moved to this community was that Mom is originally from here and she has a decent job with the city (residency requirement) but when she retires, we are moving either back to Iowa or up to Maine. The city was nice when she grew up but has been on the decline since then.

The only easy way to evict problem tenants in this area is if they are found to have illegal drugs in the apartment as they can be evicted without a hearing in housing court (police ordered eviction). I know this because I know a few of the local police officers (and on good terms).

FYI: I do live in the better part of town (near the town line with an affluent community).

--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to IowaCowboy

LL's can do pretty much anything they want with their property, in terms of communications.
While they must permit "antennas", they can just say that they will allow no new penetrations to the building finish. This limits the mounting options severely. Unless you live on a balcony or courtyard with an unobstructed Southern view, you are screwed. This is why DirecTV and Dish Network have "blacklisted" many apartment communities. They don't want the hassle.
It can also work against the cable co.
I used to do installs for an MSO who specialized in running the cable co out of complexes. Basically, their service was more expensive, but they'd give the LL a bigger cut.
The LL would essentially tell the cable co to "get out", and there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it. We would come install dishes, antennas, and a headend. They'd usually put it in the apartment next to the laundry (nobody wants to live next to the laundry).
We'd run all new cable through the complex if needed, or simply "commandeer" the abandoned cable co cables.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



Daarken
Rara Avises
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join:2005-01-12
Southwest LA
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reply to IowaCowboy

As a low power special systems provider, we do pre-wires on new constructions (homes) all the time.
We typically provide dual CAT5/CAT6 and dual RG-6 drops as a rule of thumb to every location the homeowner/developer requires. All drops are terminated in a structured wiring enclosure ready for whatever use a homeowner requires.
Personally CAT5 is dead, and CAT6 should be the norm.
Wireless is great, but with range, and latency, along with security being the drawbacks, a typical buyer requests a network drop for communication needs.
--
Getting it Done.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

2 edits
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

LL's can do pretty much anything they want with their property, in terms of communications.

You seem to be focusing on multi-family in your details. In single family, I think you have it wrong.

[edit] Just to be clear, I am saying that if I rent a house to you and tell you that I don't allow you to use AT&T even though it is on the utility pole in the back yard then my belief is that provision of the lease is unenforceable.

[edit again] I didn't read this in detail but here is the relevant section from the PUC in Texas regarding "Standards for Access to Provide Telecommunications Services at Tenant Request". From a quick look, it is hard to deny the tenant a telecommunications provider (cable rules are another section).

»www.puc.state.tx.us/agency/rules···9ei.aspx


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
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join:2002-05-31
AZ
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reply to IowaCowboy

Pretty much all of the new home construction I've seen includes structured wiring with a centiral cabinet with a telephone distribution point. Really, if the house is already wire for CAT 5/6, adding a telephone pair isn't much more. Then again, I haven't actually used a wired telephone pair in about 10 years.
--
This Space for Rent...



nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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1 recommendation

reply to robbin

Well then, single family folks simply "aren't biting" on pre-wires any more either. It's a trend that I don't like (for obvious reasons). But nonetheless, it happening. I can't ignore it. I prefer a wired connection for everything, but most people are not technologically savvy. All they know is that they have wireless now and it works for them.

I'll put it this way - I don't include LV wiring in my resi bids any more. I'll include the option, but not in the final tally. Why? Other contractors aren't including it either. Why? Because it's no longer in demand.

If I were building a house today for myself, it would be wired to the hilt. Actually, I would do conduit for LV.

I'm no longer "predicting" that wireless will be king. I don't have to. It's already happening right now.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
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AZ
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said by nunya:

I'm no longer "predicting" that wireless will be king. I don't have to. It's already happening right now.

It's a shame that people don't want the wiring anymore because it is not just for data anymore. The amount of cat5 to whatever adapters sure make running other types of signals easy.
--
This Space for Rent...


nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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I've gotten lazy in my own home. We have 3 wireless HD video devices. I should run cat5 or at least get MoCA adapters; but why bother when wireless works without a hiccup?
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to nunya

I totally agree with you. I have starting asking tenants if they plan to have a "house phone" just out of curiosity and no one has one anymore. My response was more to the OP in the original post "telling the few tenants who want a home phone to go with a cable company telephone offering or a VoIP offering". So while practically no one uses it anymore, as a landlord I don't feel that I can forbid the Telco from my rental. With that being the case, I would rather have it reasonably wired so nothing additional is needed, whether it is an old house, remodel, or new construction.



CKizer
Premium
join:2003-01-29
Tijeras, NM
kudos:2
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

...If I were building a house today for myself... I would do conduit for LV.

+1


cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27
reply to robbin

New construction "should" have cat5e/cat6 pairs, RG6Quad (pair)" bundle to every room (even bathroom). Although FO is nice (I have it as a backbone from basement to attic), I've not terminated it, nor have any need (it was a free bundle so why complain)...

Wifi is "not" a complete solution. Aside from the usual interference (kitchens, glass, steel, stone), there can be other factors that don't make it 100% nice. Still, it should be factored in if say, homeowner wants outside signal, signal in garage, or ubiquitous coverage on their property. Having Cat5e/Cat6 to allow for access points or to run PoE is forward thinking (albeit how forward as tech evolves rapidly).

Having spare pairs is wise but wasteful, and used up space. I agree with just planning LV to every room, with fishtape for future needs should be more than adequate.
--
Splat



dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
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Parsippany, NJ
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reply to nunya

said by nunya:

If I were building a house today for myself, it would be wired to the hilt. Actually, I would do conduit for LV.

Nail, meet head.

If I were to build a new home, that's EXACTLY what I would want. This way, I can pull cat6 now and replace it with.. whatever else.. later. I keep hoping for multi-mode fiber transceivers to drop in price, but hasn't happened. But I would definitely run conduit so I can string fiber when the time is right.

I'm convinced that wired isn't going away. Wireless is hot now, and will always play a role, but there's only so much spectrum, and as we march speeds up, and bandwidth requirements go up, there's only so much we can squeeze into available spectrum.

As for me, my house is wired with cat5e everywhere I need it, I have phone jacks (!!) in the kitchen, bedroom, and both home offices (his and hers), and I even have two home phone lines.

I guess I'm just old fashioned, but I prefer having a "house" phone number rather than just my mobile.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to robbin

said by robbin:

I have starting asking tenants if they plan to have a "house phone" just out of curiosity and no one has one anymore.

No alarm systems? They still work better with POTS.

For the OP: Running a 22/4 or 24/4 cable during construction must be pretty cheap. Why not do it?


xbell

@cgocable.net
reply to Daarken

said by Daarken:

We typically provide dual CAT5/CAT6 and dual RG-6 drops as a rule of thumb to every location the homeowner/developer requires. All drops are terminated in a structured wiring enclosure ready for whatever use a homeowner requires.
Personally CAT5 is dead, and CAT6 should be the norm.
Wireless is great, but with range, and latency, along with security being the drawbacks, a typical buyer requests a network drop for communication needs.

That is what we do up here in Ontario Canada except for the enclosure as many are just run to the hydro panel backing board or communication closet.

In fact I have never been asked to wire a home or apartment building that didn't have cat. 3, 5 or 6 to every room for phone.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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reply to Bob4

said by Bob4:

No alarm systems? They still work better with POTS.

My alarm system works fine with Comcast Digital Voice. Several things to consider when getting Comcast is it is better to opt for a self install with Comcast and have the alarm contractor do the inside wiring as alarm contractors know how to properly wire a telephone line for line seizure and Comcast has been known to mess up phone wiring and not wire the RJ31X properly. In my case, I opted for a self install as I did the alarm wiring myself when I installed the alarm. I bought the alarm system from www.homesecuritystore.com and had a local alarm contractor take over the monitoring. It may be more expensive to have the alarm contractor do the VoIP wiring but it will be done properly and alarm installers in most jurisdictions (unless a homeowner/tenant is installing the system in their own home depending on jurisdiction) doing so for hire must be licensed and undergo a CORI (criminal background check).
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

said by IowaCowboy:

said by Bob4:

No alarm systems? They still work better with POTS.

My alarm system works fine with Comcast Digital Voice.

And if there's a power failure?


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
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Springfield, MA
Reviews:
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said by Bob4:

said by IowaCowboy:

said by Bob4:

No alarm systems? They still work better with POTS.

My alarm system works fine with Comcast Digital Voice.

And if there's a power failure?

The modem has a battery backup in it and I have it plugged into a UPS power supply.
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to IowaCowboy

said by IowaCowboy:

I am wondering in new and remodel construction of homes and apartment buildings, if they are being wired for home telephone service or if they are just wiring them for cable TV and telling the few tenants who want a home phone to go with a cable company telephone offering or a VoIP offering.

With the decline of home phones, many developers/landlords may not want to pay for telephone wiring that is going to remain unused as home phones are on the decline and cable TV wiring is favorable because it can deliver higher Internet speeds and video as well as telephone.

My 2005 townhouse has cat 5e and coax pulled to all the major rooms as telephone and cable. They all terminate into my garage where there are two conduits: one for the cable and one that routes to a telephone distribution box on the property. If I really wanted to, I guess I could switch all the faceplates and terminate the ends in the garage as network cable to a switch. But I am perfectly happy with my fixed 3g 802.11G router at the moment. We cut the phone cord many years ago, the only wires coming in are cable TV and power.

If I was involved in the construction, I would have had them either install conduit, or pull three cat5 to each room (including bathrooms and closets) in order to future proof the construction. But again, I am perfectly happy with wireless solutions.
--
--Standard disclaimers apply.--

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to IowaCowboy

said by IowaCowboy:

The modem has a battery backup in it and I have it plugged into a UPS power supply.

How long will your batteries last? And what about Comcast's equipment? Do they have batteries? How long will they last? Alarm system batteries should last 24 hours and then be able to sound an alarm for 4 minutes.

These are all things you don't have to worry about with POTS, hence my statement that alarm systems work better with POTS.


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
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join:2002-05-24
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·Callcentric
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said by Bob4:

said by IowaCowboy:

The modem has a battery backup in it and I have it plugged into a UPS power supply.

How long will your batteries last? And what about Comcast's equipment? Do they have batteries? How long will they last? Alarm system batteries should last 24 hours and then be able to sound an alarm for 4 minutes.

These are all things you don't have to worry about with POTS, hence my statement that alarm systems work better with POTS.

Exactly. This is why I'm reluctant to move off DSL to cable. The cable company nodes are powered by the electric utility, and in theory, they have batteries in them. But I know how much maintenance Mediacom does (as little as possible), and even then, the batteries aren't going to last as long as the telco CO will. It has a generator, and my ADSL circuit is CO based, so it should stay up as long as any overhead wires are up.


bobjohnson
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Orlando, FL
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reply to robbin

In Florida the rules are that if it's not already there the LL can refuse to allow an install in a single family. So if there's no phone lines then they can simply refuse to allow any alterations to their property and choose to allow cable to install. But all cable and phone companies are regulated by the PUC here. A few newer MDU's here are using Directv and Att only, so I guess as long as you have access to a dial tone they don't care around here.
--