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Comcast To Secure Fresno

Comcast next week will light up the Xfinity Home security and home-automation service in portions of its Fresno, Calif., service areas.

Xfinity Home provides traditional home-security features, including police and fire alarm dispatch via 24-hour professional monitoring, as well as the ability to adjust digital thermostats, turn lights on or off and watch secure live streaming video from wireless cameras while away from home. The service also comes with the Xfinity Home app, which is available for no extra charge for Apple iOS devices and Android smartphones.

The MSO expects to deploy Xfinity Home virtually nationwide in 2012. Other markets where Comcast has rolled out the service include San Francisco, Houston, Portland, Ore., New Hampshire, Denver, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. Comcast first launched it in Houston in mid-2010.

In the Fresno area, Xfinity Home will launch next Wednesday, June 6, for Comcast customers from Merced south to Tulare, including the following cities: Atwater, Clovis, Crows Landing, Del Rey, Dinuba, Dos Palos, Exeter, Farmersville, Firebaugh, Fowler, Friant, Fresno, Grayson, Hanford, Kerman, Kingsburg, Lemoore, Los Banos, Madera, Mendota, Merced, Parlier, Pinedale, Porterville, Reedley, Riverdale, San Joaquin, Sanger, Selma, Tulare, Visalia and Winton.

"Xfinity Home brings digital home monitoring to a new level," Mitch Bowling, senior vice president and general manager of new businesses for Comcast Cable, said in a statement. "It comes with a range of broadband-based technologies that empower customers to stay better connected to their home virtually anytime, anywhere."

The Xfinity Home Preferred Package starts at $39.95 per month, plus a $199 one-time installation fee. Comcast requires a three-year minimum-term service contract. Through July 8, Comcast is offering free installation for the Preferred Package in the new South Valley launch areas.

According to the operator, customers of the service are eligible to receive up to a 20% discount on their homeowners insurance. Comcast uses a third-party alarm-monitoring provider, COPS Monitoring, based in Williamstown, N.J., to handle emergency dispatch functions.

Xfinity Home is provided through the broadband-based "smart home" platform from Redwood City, Calif.-based iControl Networks, in which Comcast is an investor. The service provides customizable settings, such as setting up real-time e-mail or text alerts when doors open or close or when motion detectors are triggered. In addition, Xfinity Home includes a tablet-like touchscreen panel with a menu of widgets that provide weather, news, traffic, and sports scores.

Earlier this year Comcast announced a deal with Redwood City, Calif.-based EcoFactor to develop a new service letting customers manage energy consumption. The service, expected to debut later this year, could potentially reduce the costs of heating or cooling homes by 10% to 30%, the companies claimed.