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RCN, Blue Ridge Launch Broadband Home Security Services

Blue Ridge Communications and RCN Corp. have become the first two operators to launch broadband-based security services in partnership with InGrid Home Security of Berwyn, Pa.

Blue Ridge, which serves 180,000 subscribers in northeastern Pennsylvania, is the country's 18th-largest cable operator. Competitive provider RCN Corp. is launching security services for six months at first in two markets: Philadelphia and Chicago, according to the company.

Cable operators do the marketing and billing for the service; the alarm service is delivered via broadband and the system is installed and programmed by the homeowner. For a single-family home, for instance, a subscriber would buy a start-up kit, priced between $249 and $299, which includes 8 window or door sensors, a key-fob remote and a base station much like a wireless telephone set-up.

The price of continuous monitoring is set by operators: for instance, Blue Ridge will charge $24.95 a month for the service if it is part of a suite of telecommunications services to the home, said Mark Masenheimer, Blue Ridge general manager. A la carte pricing will be $29.95.