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Autumn is the time of year when seasonal businesses, cottages, and residences are being closed up for the winter. Many of these contain monitored alarm systems requiring a working telephone line to maintain continuity of service. This article explains how to avoid compromising your security while still temporarily suspending your telephone service, thereby saving money by switching to your telephone service provider’s off-season rate.

This process used to be called “seasonal disconnection” and had little to do with whether or not your telephone line would still be usable through the so called “disconnected” period. All it meant back in those days was that repair priority would be placed on full service accounts so that loss of your seasonally disconnected telephone service would be seen to on a “we’ll get to it when we can” basis. You could get priority only by accepting an obligation to pay three months of service at the full rate before going back to the seasonal one. Still, if all went as planned, you and your alarm system could still access the network.

Things are different now. If you order seasonal disconnection in today’s world without taking the proper steps, your service provider will remotely deactivate your dial tone and shut down your line. Nothing gets out after that.

Until recently, Eastlink offered a service called “Seasonal Hold” in which seasonal residential customers of their telephone service could enjoy a reduced monthly rate while maintaining only the service necessary to provide alarm monitoring and 911 service. Unfortunately they have discontinued this service and no one we have been able to find in their organization will even admit that it ever existed.

Aliant’s version of this service is called “Temporary Service Suspension” or TSS. They were kind enough to provide a written copy of their TSS policy by e-mail, relevant portions of which are directly quoted below. In the short form, to implement TSS, call Aliant and tell them you want temporary suspension. Aside from the obvious, like your name and the telephone number affected by your TSS request, you will need to provide the following information to avoid interruption of your security service:

  • The fact that you have a security system connected to the network; and

  • The toll-free number your security system uses to communicate its data to the central monitoring station.

This last item, the toll-free number, must be obtained directly from us.

With TSS in place, your telephone service will only permit two numbers to be successfully dialed; 911 and the toll-free number your security equipment uses to communicate with our alarm receiving system.


Aliant TSS Policies

Provided by e-mail on 21 September 2005:

"TSS FOR SECURITY ALARMS

A new process is available to enable customers with alarm systems
connected to a phone line to go on TSS using restricted dial tone and
also be able to dial 911. Once on this system, the customer will be
able to dial 911 and their Alarm Company’s toll free number. An
automated system will be in place later this year, until then please
follow these instructions.

Available now in NS-PE-NB; not provided in NL.


This version of TSS is to be provided to residence customers with a
monitored alarm system which requires a connection to network or
customers who want to be able to dial 911 in an emergency.

Advise the customer that the TSS service will only dial out to their
Alarm Company toll free numbers and 911.

If the customer wants the alarm dialer to work with our TSS system
they must provide the toll free number that the house dials to when
an alarm has been triggered. If they don’t know this number they
must contact their alarm company. If the number is not a toll free
number they must have the alarm company change their number that is
dialed to a toll free number. Once they have the toll free phone
number the customer can call us and we can provision the TSS order.
We do not verify the toll free number, so the customer must be sure
it is connected to their system when an alarm is triggered and dials
to the toll free number.

We cannot place the order without this toll free phone number if the
customer wants TSS because they have a security alarm system. If the
customer advises that they cannot provide a toll free number as their
company only uses a local phone number then we cannot do this TSS
process. If a customer wants access to 911 only then we can provide
this service….”


 

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