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Comcast Homes In on Security Services

Jeff Baumgartner
10/4/2010
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Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has introduced a home security service in Houston, a move that could allow the MSO to add more recurring revenues and make it a competitor to traditional security providers like ADT Security Services Inc.

Depending on the package, Comcast's service provides traditional home security functions that issue alarms when door or window sensors are tripped, but also paves the way for several more advanced options, including remote access to home lighting and climate controls and video monitoring using PCs and mobile phones.

An application for the service, dubbed Xfinity Home Security, is available on the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes store, indicating that it’s currently only available to Comcast customers in Houston.

The MSO has also developed a special Website that spells out the product in more detail, breaking it down into two tiers -- "Preferred" and "Basic."

The site doesn’t going into great detail about pricing on the home security service, but it's apparent that the Basic package does not include access to the service’s full suite of mobile access applications, which include the ability control lighting and the home’s heating and cooling systems with a smartphone. Both packages, however, include some mobile components, including one that allow customers to remotely arm and disarm the home security system.

Product Detals

Mobile Access

Beyond those packages, Comcast also lists out several optional home security and monitoring products that can be purchased separately, including IP-based video cameras and thermostats, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

There’s no mention of any vendor partners, but it’s likely that Icontrol Networks Inc. is the primary one that’s involved. Last year, Comcast Interactive Capital joined Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and others in a $23 million Series C investment in the Palo Alto, Calif.-based remote home management firm, which was founded in 2003. (See Comcast, Cisco Invest in iControl.)

A source tells Light Reading Cable that Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is also testing a similar service in Syracuse, N.Y.

Update: A Comcast official acknowledged late Monday that the MSO is "trialing" the service in Houston, but declined to discuss vendors it's using or where or when Comcast will introduce it next. Also, the current pricing and packaging for the home security product is specific to the Houston deployment, so both may change as Comcast introduces it to new cities.

Familiar ground
This isn’t the first time Comcast has invested in the home security sector. In 2000, Comcast, along with Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Charter Communications Inc. , Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), and Shaw Communications Inc. , poured millions into Austin, Texas-based Security Broadband Corp.

In 2002, Comcast and Cox agreed to begin "limited marketing" of Security Broadband’s "SafeVillage" system. Cox also completed an alpha trial of Security Broadband’s system in 2001 that involved about 100 homes. Security Broadband has since changed its focus to mobile healthcare products.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
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Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:22:01 PM
re: Comcast Homes In on Security Services

The site for the Houston trial/deployment doesn’t go into tremendous detail about pricing, but Comcast is placing some special attention on the Preferred package, which includes four window/door sensors, one motion detector, a wireless keypad, a keychain remote, one touchscreen control hub, and “cellular backup” included.



 

 


Comcast notes that the hardware associated with the promotion, good through the end of the year, is valued at more than $1,100 and includes free activation and a $99 installation fee.  The fine print mentions that the promoted Preferred package costs $39.95, but also requires customers to sign a sign a three-year contract.

 

Basic, by the way, does not bake in access to the service’s full suite of mobile access applications, which include the ability control lightening and the home’s heating and cooling systems with a smartphone.  Basic, however, does include some of those mobile components, including one that allow customers to arm and disarm the home security system remotely.

 

But, again, this all applies to Houston only.  Comcast may change up pricing and packaging as it rolls this into more markets.

 

 

JB

 

 





 


 




Jeff Baumgartner
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Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:21:33 PM
re: Comcast Homes In on Security Services


The product looks a bit different, but it appears that Suddenlink is also starting to market a home security/monitoring product, according to this local report. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
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Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:21:32 PM
re: Comcast Homes In on Security Services


A user on the DSL Reports message board uncovered some additional info on the terms of the service and the early termination fees for the service Comcast is testing in Houston:


Customers are on the hook to pay $1,000, less $100 for every 3 full calendar months the service is up for the big package, or $770, less $70 for each 3 full calender months the service is up for the basic package.


JB


 

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