Broadband ISP Plusnet Places Future of Email Under Review – ISPreview.co.uk

plusnet uk isp logo image 2020

Internet provider Plusnet has finally restored their embattled UK email service after a week of chaos, but its long-term future may now be in doubt after the ISP placed the service “under review.” A number of customers have allegedly also been told by the provider’s support staff that the email platform would close in 2022.

Just to recap. Plusnet’s email service decided to start throwing a wobbly last Wednesday (here), which resulted in masses of customer complaints related to problems with access, missing messages and various other issues. The situation was still ongoing yesterday, but the good news is that the ISP claims to have now resolved it.

A Plusnet spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk: “Plusnet email services have now been restored and customers should be able to send and receive emails as normal. We’re sorry this has taken longer than expected to fix and for the inconvenience caused.” We did ask for a little more detail on what actually went wrong, but comically, the most they could tell us was that it had been caused by a technical issue.

However, during the course of all that disruption a number of the provider’s customers claim to have been told, by Plusnet’s support staff over the phone, that the email service is due to be closed down. After a bit of digging we found several similar postings on the provider’s own Community Forum, with no denials from the ISP itself. A few examples can be found below.

Customer Clangrant said:

“My source within Plusnet advises that senior management have indicated that the email service will be discontined completely in the next 12 months. And that is not just the web based service, it’s everything.”

Customer timanddebby said:

“When I had an email problem about a month ago technical support told me that Plusnet was discontinuing all their email services as it was not a profitable side of the business. We will all have to find new email accounts with other suppliers. This will happen around March 2022. We will be warned about a month in advance and they will bounce our emails to our new chosen email address for a short while.”

Customer Phil said:

“Have had huge problems before with error 452 – PlusNet couldn’t fix it and let slip they plan to close down plusnet email!!.”

Customer Rellis said:

“Just spoke with a tech advisor, who sorted a router problem, and when I asked about email said, words to the effect, he expected it to be withdrawn in the next year, and that all the tech folk hope it will be. He also said that he thought very few people now use Plusnet email. “

At this point Plusnet could have easily shut down such talk with a simple denial, but when asked the provider instead informed ISPreview.co.uk that they were currently in the process of reviewing the long-term future of their email service. The statement does contradict what some support staff are alleged to have been told, which is that the review had already concluded their email service would be shut. 

The situation will no doubt cause concern for some of the provider’s customers, many of whom will have been looking for some certainty over the future direction of their email platform in Plusnet’s statement.

A Spokesperson for Plusnet said:

“We’re reviewing the future of the Plusnet email service, however at this stage a decision has not been made. If we make any changes our customers will be the first to know.”

As a general rule, we’ve always advised our readers to never rely upon the email services provided by your ISP, not least because it can make it harder for you to switch broadband providers (i.e. you run the risk of losing access to your address). In general, it’s far better to sign-up with one of the many free email (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook) or dedicated hosting providers and thus avoid ever getting into situations like this.

In fairness, email is somewhat of an old-fashioned service for modern broadband ISPs to support and indeed most have long since stopped promoting it as a feature. But the big providers do still tend to provide it, even if the cost and technical hassle of maintaining such a system rarely brings much reward.