Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that SunRocket went down in dotcom flames and took millions of pre-paid subscribers dollars with it.
But keeping the VOIP dream alive (and causing quite a stir) is Ooma.com.
Ooma just launched, getting all the Technowennies tongues’ wagging. Ooma is different. In short, you pay $400 for an Ooma box and you get free domestic phone calls for life.
What makes Ooma different -and still able to draw 25 million in VC money for a VOIP startup- is that it uses a P2P model for call termination. Ooma is banking on the fact that many people will keep a “stripped down” PSTN line for 911 and other such usage. So your Ooma box will both allow you to call out and others place calls in your local area. (you’re not required to keep a PSTN line)
In theory, like BitTorrent, bandwidth will never be an issue. As demand grows the network grows. As the network really grows, like Skype, Ooma to Ooma will never cost you or Ooma a penny.
It’s a bold idea, one that IMO is destined to either be a hit or crater fairly spectacularly. It’s a Linux device so that means the hackers will be all over it, that should help it. It has potential. I plan on buying one (no comments about a fool and his money please) and I’ll be reporting the good, bad and ugly.
There are plenty of stories in the second link above but if you’re looking for more info, this might be a good place to start.
Update: For those of you who like to watch Lee Ward go down in flames, don’t miss the second comment. He thought I’d erase it… Heck no.. I’ll even make a whole post out of it if he keeps digging himself a hole.