Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Residential VoIP in Canada: Not looking so good

Brad's talking about Primus Talkbroadband and how their entire network recently went down, and how this reflects on them:

When your entire VoIP network crashes you prove a number of things:

  1. You must have a single point of failure, which means that somebody in your organization doesn’t get that whole “up-time and reliability” thing.

  2. You should not be charging anything like the price you are charging for the service, given that you have demonstrated a lack of interest in investing in reliability (ie: re-read the first point).

  3. You have power washed any good will or early adopter enthusiasm out of the product.

  4. This does not yet seem to be a good business proposition for an investor or a prospective customer.

    Brad Gibson’s Current Thinking: What happens when the Category Killer Dies?

After the network problem and some further thinking, I might be just about ready to stop using Primus for now. I'll tell you why:

  1. I had been waiting for voicemail-via-email. This is the killer app for me, other than the "second number" capability that lets me have an Ottawa number as well as my Vancouver one. No sign of this feature, and no news on when it is going to be available.
  2. I just upgraded my cellphone to a P800, so now I have a "spare" cellphone that I can give to Kate
  3. Quality has been sporadic. I do have the gateway behind my router, but there have also been echoes, it's unusable with our cordless phone, etc.
  4. Lastly, I'm not saving any money. I don't do enough long distance calling to make the "free" North America-wide long distance worthwhile. I can see where this factor all by itself would convince people to keep it, but I suspect these will be special cases for individual residential users. Lots of business users would fall into this category, but they are also likely highly dependent on quality and reliability.

I'm glad I experimented, and I'll likely keep trying out different options, but I don't think Primus meets my needs as a reliable provider of primary line services. For now, two cellphones is going to be the answer.