Ojo Still a Go-Go

The WorldGate Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WGAT) Ojo videophone and network have been brought back from the brink after the company was able to secure a new deal with Snap!VRS earlier this month.

In early February, WorldGate shut down operations as it attempted to resolve a payment dispute with its "largest customer," which turned out to be Snap!VRS, a company that facilitates communications for the deaf and hard-of-hearing using Ojo phones and qualified sign language interpreters. (See WorldGate Winding Down .) At the time, WorldGate said the move was the first step toward a complete wind-down unless it could obtain those payments or gather some new financing. Snap!VRS, meanwhile, maintained that it was up to speed on payments to WorldGate and was therefore not the source of WorldGate's woes.

Well, cooler heads have apparently prevailed. The Ojo network is back up and videophone shipments have resumed. According to WorldGate's "restoration" page, all Ojo users will have free access the network until June 1, 2008.

WorldGate officials were not immediately available for further comment Monday, but here's Snap!VRS general counsel Jeff Rosen explaining the situation in sign language:

We'll keep you posted should there be any changes in the WorldGate situation.

In the meantime, some Ojo owners outside the Snap!VRS sphere, such as blogger Mari Silbey, are considering when to hook everything back up again.

Following that chapter in WorldGate's seemingly perpetual tumultuous history, one has to wonder if the Trevose, Pa.-based company may want to give up the videophone biz and reenter the world of interactive television.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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