Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Cox vs Ooma: Erring(?) on the Side of Caution

So I sent the Cox tech away while I thought about the options presented by the coming exit from copper land lines on the part of Our Honored Communications Provider. It seemed to me that what the guy proposed to do was not one helluva lot different from switching the land line to VoIP. Big difference: Ooma, a prominent VoIP provider, costs about five bucks a month. Cox, having purchased a few Arizona corporation commissioners, soaks its customers for $35.

Find a guy who will babysit me through connecting VoIP, a chore that I do not feel technologically competent enough to engage. So, it’s off to the Ooma website to order up the device needed to connect through their…network, platform, or whatever it is.


Since last I reviewed this service, Ooma has added a lot of new features. In the process, they’ve added to their website. One of the additions is a certain brain-banging opacity. Nowhere, far as I could tell, can you find a page that says “Buy this, Get this, Pay this per month.” They babble on about a “smart phone for your home” (I don’t want a smart phone, dammit! I can’t figure out how to use those things), but it’s unclear whether you have to buy their phone sets to connect through their service, or whether your existing handsets will work.

Call a sales rep and get…what? Yes: a person who simply has no fuckin’ clue! No joke. So small is the clue this chickadee has that she cannot even understand the question I’m asking!

Yes. So alien is the concept that a person might have actual phones in different rooms in her house that she is incapable of grasping that I’m not talking about cell phones.

I think…fukkit. These are hoops I am just flat not gonna jump through. At least when I call Cox, I get a human being right away, and that human being usually has at least a FEW measurable IQ points between the ears. That, I suppose, is worth $35 a month.

I guess.

So now I have another Cox dude slated to come over next week and convert the damn phone system.

Do I WANT this conversion? Shit, no. My feeling is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You know and I know this is going to create some kind of PITA, driving up the blood pressure, creating vast inconvenience, and eventually eliciting yet another hummingbird-like rage.

In a few days, we will have telephones that go down every time the electricity is out (that will be once or twice a year), every time Cox’s cables are down (that will be every goddamn time a drop of rain falls and every time the City digs up the roads, an ongoing endeavor whose sole purpose apparently is to keep their employees busy), every time the WiFi modem disconnects itself (not so frequent as before, but still unpredictably often), and…hey! EVERY TIME I NEED A PHONE URGENTLY.

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Author: funny

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  1. I clicked the link – we may end up using Ooma for our office once we get set up – I only need 3 lines and their business offering seems feasible.

    On the home side,

    There is a big orange “buy now” button on the right hand side. It looks like you pay a one-time charge of $99 for them to send you a box and a few bucks/month for taxes/fees.

    See rates here – there is a link on that page for taxes/fees – click it and enter your postal code to get the monthly fees.

    Free home calling offered in the United States only. Federal universal service charges, FCC regulatory fee, state and local taxes, fees & surcharges and regulatory and compliance fees are billed monthly and are subject to change.

    You use your own phone –

    What do I need for Ooma to work?
    All you need is a high-speed Internet connection (cable, DSL, satellite or fiber-optic) and a regular home phone. Ooma works with your existing corded or cordless home phones. Use your phone exactly

    For the first 60 days you get a free trial of Ooma Premier -if you like it, it’s 9.99/month thereafter, if not, you cancel Ooma Premier.

    What features are included?
    Ooma comes with with all the features you’ve come to expect, like caller-ID, call-waiting, and voicemail. You’ll also get a 60-day free trial of Ooma Premier. This package of over 25 advanced calling features includes Blacklists to stop pesky telemarketers, Multi-Ring to stay connected on the go, Call Screening so you can listen in before you pick up the phone, and much more. If you like Ooma Premier, you may continue your subscription after the trial-period for just $9.99 per month.

    Ultimately, if you’re going to go with Cox for a phone – I would have them set up a *second* modem – one dedicated for the phone, vs the one used by the computer. That way if you are streaming a movie, your phone quality will not be affected.

    • Where does it say you can use your own phone? Where does it say a half-dozen corded handsets will work with it? I couldn’t find that. Part of it, I suppose, is that I get dumber and dumber with old age. The electronic stuff tends to flummox me these days, The way I saw it their web page, it looked like you have to buy their phone, and it’s just A phone…not a swarm of phones.

      Cox is going to put in a second modem, which is a nuisance — but Ooma comes with a device that looks a lot like a modem, too,. It doesn’t just plug into your modem, does it? And yes, Cox provides a battery for this second modem…for another 30 bucks,.

      • If all your phones belong to one set (ie a base phone plus wireless satellites) they should all work with Ooma. If they’re part of different sets, I don’t think they would all work with Ooma without additional equipment. I haven’t had Cox VOIP, but my parents used to have Comcast VOIP and it was a similar setup where all the phones had to be part of the same set to work because they no longer used the phone jacks wired into the house.

        “Cordless phone system
        All of the phones associated with a single cordless base station will function as one phone when connected to an Ooma device. Simply plug the cordless phone base into your Ooma device and set up your satellite phones around your house. Please note that in order to access the Instant Second Line™ feature, you must have at least one Ooma Telo Handset (Telo users) or a separate phone connected to an Ooma Scout (Hub users).

        Your Ooma setup will replace your old answering machine and/or voicemail system. If your answering machine is a separate device, turn it off and disconnect it. If your answering machine is integrated into your cordless phone system, you may need to consult the phone manual to learn how to disable it. Alternatively, you can set the number of rings on your answering machine to a higher number than the number of rings required for the Ooma voice mail to pick up (the default is set at 24 seconds).”

  2. Thank you “spiffikins” for the explanation….Ooma has always been a mystery to me and I for one worry that it is a big “scheme”. That is, after the market is saturated and everybody has a box there will be no more income and then they go BK…And the apparatus become paper weights. Has your local phone company “abandoned” the copper in your area? How did legislators let that happen? In my neck of the woods, A LOT of old people …OP’s…. depend on the copper and depend on this as a life line. MAN I hope this isn’t a trend…So if I understand right if the electric goes out OR the cable goes out OR the router goes out OR the modem goes out OR there is a software glitch….One is without a phone? This is insane…Not a fan of Cox…DD2 has had more than one run in with these “fine folks”. Is it possible to go with VOIP with your existing phone company if copper is a thing of the past?

    • Yup, the VOIP is wholly dependent on your internet being up and running – so if your computer can’t get to, your phone won’t work either.

      Generally the VOIP offering is either through your internet provider or from a 3rd party like vonage or ooma. If your get your internet from the phone computer (i.e. AT&T) they probably have a voip offering as well, but I haven’t had any dealings with AT&T for internet in a long time.

      I don’t understand the ooma business model at all – every phone call you make costs them money – not a significant sum – something like 0.0002 pennies per minute – but over time, and multiplied by all their customers – there is a cost and if it’s not being paid for by customers, who is paying for it?

      I used Vonage VOIP for years – cost under $20 a month for unlimited calls to the US and Canada – and since my family was in Canada, it was a great deal.

      AT&T will still sell me a copper landline – but it’s $36/month (plus taxes and fees) and doesn’t include any long distance minutes. I’m paying just under $30 a month for my voip line which includes unlimited long distance to anywhere in North America – and I could go cheaper, but it’s bundled together with my tv and internet.

  3. In Arizona, the Corporation Commission is literally owned by corporations. Every year Republicans are elected, thanks to BIG money poured into their election campaigns; highly paid lobbyists campaign relentlessly to obtain whatever the utilities want (this is the reason the solar industry was crushed in this state); and some commissioners are, frankly, on the take. Check it out:

    Goes on and on and on like that…

    Ooma actually has a good reputation. People I know who have installed it like it. Even some companies use itl

    And yes: that’s exactly right: when your computer goes out, you don’t have a phone. Screw-you-very-much.