Be Unlimited pulls plug on home CCTV service
Disabled customer marooned by sudden withdrawal
A wheelchair user faces losing vital security and independence because his broadband provider Be Unlimited is withdrawing a recently launched network CCTV service.
The ISP has not offered any reason for the imminent withdrawal of the Home Monitor package, which costs £150 for a plug-and-play networked security camera and £5 per month for services such as simple browser access to the video feed, and MMS updates to a mobile phone. Users can "arm" the camera to detect movement when they're out using a special keyfob, which also functions as an alarm.
The service launched only eight months ago.
Disabled Reg reader Lee Duncan uses Home Monitor to decide whether to answer the door to callers at his north west London home. "It's fantastic for me as a wheelchair user to be able to see who's at the door," he said. "It may seem trivial but it's really useful."
It's unknown what will happen to the hardware that Home Monitor customers bought when they signed up when the service is switched off on 18 September. Lee said: "We were asked to fork out £150, which might not seem a lot, but to some people it is."
The email Be sent to customers said:
We hope that you have been enjoying your Be Home Monitor and the great benefits that the product and service have provided. Unfortunately, we need to inform you that this service is going to be withdrawn. The Be Home Monitor Service will end on 18th September 2008. This is when the contract with our partner who provides the service comes to an end.
We are looking into several options as alternatives and we will come back to you via email on the 20th August 2008 with an update.
We've contacted Be's parent company O2 for an explanation, but it hasn't returned our call yet. ®