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Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

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Tykebike
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Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

Having been informed by one of the helpline staff yesterday (13/6/23) that the Plusnet email service will be discontinued at the end of June and seeing conflicting replies here in the Forum I decided to contact the CEO for advice. Within a couple of hours I had a phone call from the complaints service to categorically state that this is not the case so thanks to both of them for their help.

The helpline staff will be advised of the situation so that customers are not given fake news about termination of this service. It would seem to me that some services, and please forgive me if I get this wrong but I'm led to understand that the John Lewis/Waitrose accounts and Greenbee are/will be discontinued but all affected customers of these accounts should have been informed in writing of this and not simply by word of mouth.

Hope this helps others

11 REPLIES 11
Townman
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

Fix

That is consistent with all the responses being made on these forums.

Everything JLP branded and its legacy brands (notably email) will cease at the end of June.

I fear that some agents do not know the fine detail of what is happening and are confusing the closure of JLP email, with email in general.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

martinund
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

When I was speaking to an Plusnet support guy today who was helping restore some email accounts that PN had accidentally deleted, he warned me that at an unspecified time in the future (and he could not give any indication of when it would happen) PN intend to close their email servers altogether and everybody will have to make their own arrangements (eg gmail or else private rented POP server) for email. He was helping me specifically with a Force 9 address (x@username.force9.co.uk) but I got the impression that it was all PN addresses, even modern x@username.plus.com ones.

Townman
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

Yet again unsubstantiated unofficial mis-advice from front line support.  The superusers are generally briefed on key business changes before they happen.  There has as yet been no briefing which matches the above statement.

Elsewhere @willcutforth has confirmed that there are no current PLANS to close the Plusnet / F9 email service as described above.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

martinund
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

Sounds good news that there are no plans. It would seem a very strange business decision to close their email facility, because it would mean that all their users would have to make their own arrangements for email, and some may prefer to move to an ISP which offers its own email servers than to use a free email like gmail which may occasionally not be accepted by some companies as a valid email account (I've heard of cases where known-to-be-free addresses are not accepted and you need an ISP-provided email address).

We'll see how things work out. Having just had to change from one PN address to another (it's a long story!) I know what a pain it is to work out who has my address and needs to be given the new one. Friends are easy. A quick trawl through saved emails catches a lot more. But it's the one-in-blue-moon people/companies which are a problem. And there there are all the companies where I've used the address as the user ID. Saved Logins in Firefox catches most of those. But there's stil; the nagging doubt that there's someone else who will no longer be able to email me. Will PN really want to p-off their customers that way?

In the case of my parents (also with PN) it's even more of a problem. They run a web site with a large number of people who have corresponded with my parents in the past. Some previous correspondents may not think to look at the web site if they get a non-delivery, so may not see any "Our address has changed" notice.

martinund
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

Just to alert the superusers to the fact there is still a lot of confusion in Plusnet. I've now spoken to two frontline support people, Adam Walker and someone else, and they both believe that email support is planned to be ended. The woman I spoke to a few moments again was adamant that email, web/domain hosting etc would be ending "very soon": she was quite forceful about that!

Maybe the superusers need to contact the CEO again to clarifiy that there are still no plans, and also to get that fact propagated to support staff so they don't worry customers unnecessarily.

Plusnet need to get a consistent story.

My view is that PN would be incredible crass and utterly beyond contempt if they got rid of a service as fundamental as email. There are thousands/millions of PN customers who have given their email addresses to friends, family or companies, maybe even advertising them on websites that they may have created. They may also have used PN email addresses as login IDs for accounts on company databases (electricity/gas providers, banks, etc).

To make everybody setup new email addresses on gmail etc, and to change existing 3rd-party website login IDs and to advise their correspondents to use those gmail (etc) addresses would be a mammoth task for everyone.

I would complete lose respect for PN if they did that: up to now I have recommended PN as one of the better ISPs, especially as regards their customer support. Sadly they have gone from "outstanding" to just "good" (in my estimation) over the 20 years that I have used them as my ISP. For comparison, I'd rate most other ISPs' technical support as "poor", so PN are still better - but nowhere near as outstanding as they were.

For it to become known that they were *contemplating* closing email is a massive own-goal. For those proposals to progress to "plans" that frontline support are telling customers about is even worse. If they were to do it, I think they would be committing commercial suicide.

Sorry for the strong words, but that's how I feel - and superusers are probably best placed to communicate those feelings to the right people such as senior managers. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way, so add my comments to those of other people who may have commented about it.

 

Townman, you said yesterday "@willcutforth has confirmed that there are no current PLANS to close the Plusnet / F9 email service as described above", emphasising that word "plans". Should I read between the lines that it is a proposal that is being considered, even if it is not yet at the stage of planning timescales for communicating the fact to customers and planning the switching off of the servers?

jab1
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

When there is a plan to do something, then there will be a formal announcement. In the meantime any comment is (at best) pure speculation by first line support, possibly confused with the confirmed closure of the JLP email service and the end of legacy email on closed Plusnet accounts.

 

I am surprised if @adamwalker has made the claim you quote, @martinund .

John
martinund
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

Yes, I got the impression that if Adam said it, it was probably true. I was speaking to him about a problem with specific email accounts for my parents PN account which had got deleted in error. He was taking the first steps in sorting that out for me, and happened to say in passing that email would be closing for everyone "at some unspecified time in the future"; I picked him up on it and clarified that I really did understand the full impact of what he was saying. He would not be drawn on even *roughly* when it might happen (this year, next year, sometime, never) but he assured me that when it did happen, customers would be informed well in advance so they could make alternative email arrangements.

Who do I believe?

If Support are confusing the closure of the JLP accounts/emails with the closure of *all* PN email accounts, then that is a pretty serious error and senior people at PN need to be made aware of it so they can correct the misinformation.

It seems that "PN are going to get rid of their email servers" is a message that has got to non-PN users: a friend of my parents who reads computer magazines but who is not a PN user, had read it as a "fact" somewhere. So PN have a lot of damage-limitation to correct this incorrect information.

I have recommended PN to many other people over the time that I have been a customer because I've been impressed by their support staff. However I don't think in all honesty or decency I could recommend an ISP that chose to get rid of a crucial and fundamental service like email for all its customers. I'd certainly be wondering whether to continue my own PN connection if it were to happen, or whether to find a different ISP that still offered email as part of the package.

Other services such as web hosting and usenet are probably more of a minority interest. I could manage without those because there are free usenet providers such as Eternal-September. I've already moved web sites that used to be on PN, because I became fed up of having the webspace archived because too many people accessed pages on those sites (ie penalising me for something that is utterly beyond my control!).

But email is fundamental: an ISP without email servers is like a car without an engine: not a lot of use.

jab1
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

As I am (a) not an SU, and (b)no longer a PN customer, just someone who has attempted to help on the forums for a long time I will leave this alone for now.

Not all ISPs provide an email service, BTW.

John
Townman
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

@martinund 

It would be fair to accept that Plusnet has been "discussing" the future of the email service for years, much like the majority of ISPs have.  Unlike many, Plusnet has not decided the future of the service, as @jab1 notes MOST ISPs stopped providing packaged email services many years ago.

Two years (or so) ago, Plusnet front line when faced with challenges supporting email mooted the closure of email services as their "solution" to addressing their support challenges.  That was explored by the business and rejected, partly out of the push-back from the user base in general and the SUs in particular.  Since then access to email for new and departed users has been closed down, effectively limiting the growth in use of the service.  For existing legacy users, there has been no decision on the future of the email service.

Somewhere along the way, I suspect that first line are expressing what they wish would happen ... as there is a confirmed plan for it to happen.  Having a desire to do something and a plan, means, resource to do it (with a timeline) are two entirely different matters.  It is also quite likely that the demise of JLP email, the loss of free email for migrated away users and the inability of new users to use email has been conflated into the belief that it is all going down the tubes.

Yesterday I received confirmation, that when a decision has been make there will be full briefing to the SUs and then the user base.  There is no CEO (within Plusnet) to raise the issue with, but I have again escalated it within the SU space.

 

There is though a wider consideration here - the use of any @ispdomain.co.uk email address leaves the user a hostage to fortune.  People would be wise to explore having their own personal domain name, which they can host with a provider of their choice, independent of their chosen, current, ISP.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

Tykebike
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June

If you want to raise the issue with the CEO, then do as I did an send it to philip.jansen@bt.com. As mentioned in my starter thread I got a telephone reply within a couple of hours, not from Philip Jansen himself but through a very helpful lady in the customer complaints department who had been contacted by him.

Penny
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Re: Plusnet/Force9 Email Service NOT ending at End of June


@Townman wrote:

There is though a wider consideration here - the use of any @ispdomain.co.uk email address leaves the user a hostage to fortune.  People would be wise to explore having their own personal domain name, which they can host with a provider of their choice, independent of their chosen, current, ISP.


 

Yeah, I'd agree with that. Just practical, and a bit more future-proofed.

 

A provider like Mythic Beasts offers a simple UK-type domain for £6+vat per year and hosting for as little as £2.50/month (direct debit) which includes e-mail too (ie no separate charge for individual e-mail addresses). SPF and DKIM as standard, for e-mail, and phenomenal bandwidth allowance (100Gb/month).

 

£2.50/month isn't a massive outlay and having hosting-and-e-mail all in the same place, with a specialised provider, leaves people freer to move around broadband suppliers depending on market offers and other factors.

 

Like many others I was doubtful of the merits of separating-out broadband-supply from domain names, webhosting and email-provision, but actually it makes a lot of sense, in some ways (and probably commercially).

.

Penny Rollo * * * joined Force9 on 17/02/98 * * * with PlusNet from 2000 onwards * * * personal website at pennymidasrollo.plus.com
Project HappyChild website (free educational resources for kids and schools, plus directory of charities helping children) 1998 onwards
Superusers are not PlusNet staff but do have a direct line of communication into the business to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the Community.