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SureWest adds home monitoring to triple play

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SureWest Communications announced a new remote monitoring service Tuesday that allows users to keep tabs on their home while they’re away, using live video and alerts.

Working with partner Xanboo, SureWest will sell the self-installed, Web-based service to anyone in the country with a broadband connection, but it is focusing its marketing efforts primarily on existing customers in its two markets: Sacramento, Calif. and Kansas City, Mo.

The offering includes an IP camera, a wireless gateway, a door or window sensor and software. And it can be accessed via a Web portal using any broadband Internet connection, including mobile phones (though SureWest exited the mobile business this year).

“You can control your kitchen lights, check on pets, receive e-mail alerts if a window is opened, or watch your kids come home from school from virtually anywhere in the world,” said Bill DeMuth, SureWest senior vice president and chief technology officer, in a prepared statement.

Because SureWest uses a third party to deliver the service, it offers low margins for the carrier, DeMuth said. But it gives customers a better overall “experience,” he said, and perhaps most importantly to SureWest, it may add customer “stickiness,” as users with SureWest’s service linked to hardware in their homes may be less likely to switch to a competing triple-play.

SureWest argues that customers on its fiber access networks will enjoy more service assurance because of the network’s high bandwidth speeds. But the service only utilizes upstream bandwidth at the home (which in SureWest’s network can range between 10, 20 and 50 Mb/s in Sacramento and 1 Mb/s in Kansas City). The quality of the video is mainly determined by the bandwidth available wherever users are accessing the service—which would presumably be outside SureWest’s network more often than not.

SureWest will also install the service, if asked by customers within its service territory but not for those outside.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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