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Topic # 101403 1-May-2012 09:35 Send private message

OK first up, I know "email portability" is not quite the right technical term, but using this term as it is the same idea as number portability.

So on to the discussion: Is it time that the industry look into customers being able to keep their existing email address when moving to another ISP at minimal or zero cost?

There is of course the argument that "people should just not use an ISP email address anyway", but the reality is many people do and I feel this has become a barrier to changing ISPs.

There is the odd ISP e.g. Orcon that do "email address for life", and sometimes Xtra email addresses live on too.

But now especially with most ISP's only offering complete bundles service, it can be near impossible to retain your old email address at reasonable cost, if at all when changing iSP's. This I feel also boarders on being anti-competitive.

Ideally I feel a system in place that a customer can retain their old email address indefinitely when moving ISP with a choice of:
1. No cost - email forward only option
2. $5 or less per month, full email box option.

So what do you think?
How would we go about rallying support for change?




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  Reply # 617807 1-May-2012 09:39 Send private message

It's a very good point. I'm well wound up with my email address linked to heaps of stuff ~ I don't want to think about having to change it all. I'm not with an ISP for email, but long term I'd like to migrate to gmail so it's an issue even beyond an ISP.


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  Reply # 617815 1-May-2012 09:49 Send private message

coffeebaron: 
So what do you think?


I think that, unlike telephone numbers which are regulated nationally, email addresses are a) global and b) unregulated. So you have a double hurdle: you have to have them regulated, and you have to have them regulated globally.

I suppose you could get away with national regulation - you'd be limited to .nz domain addresses (no porting your @gmail.com for you!) but it's a start I guess.

Also what would you expect to happen to messages stored on the donor ISP(s) servers? Moved/copied? Accessed by some automagical remote connection so that they look local to the recipient ISP?




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  Reply # 617825 1-May-2012 10:02 Send private message

This is targeted at NZ ISP's only, so would not apply to Gmail / hotmail etc that are independent of an ISP. Ideally, the customer would get a new email address, either with new ISP or preferably a non ISP email address. This idea is to help with transition and could even apply for a limited time, e.g. 6-12 months.




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  Reply # 617827 1-May-2012 10:06 Send private message

SaltyNZ:Also what would you expect to happen to messages stored on the donor ISP(s) servers? Moved/copied? Accessed by some automagical remote connection so that they look local to the recipient ISP?

These would either
1. be forwarded by old ISP to the customers new email address
2. stored as an existing mailbox at the old ISP (optional small cost charged by old ISP)




Chorus has spent $1.4 billion on making their ADSL broadband network faster. Why not spend a couple of hundred to make sure you are getting the most out of your connection?
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  Reply # 617833 1-May-2012 10:33

Crazy idea - Totally doable but phone numbers you pay for but email is generally a free service. No-one pays to receive or send an email.

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  Reply # 617834 1-May-2012 10:38 Send private message

I think it's just time ISP's stopped offering mail services at all and left it up to the user to decide what they want to do about it.

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  Reply # 617853 1-May-2012 11:40 Send private message

my family has some @ihug email addresses, i use to use one for years, but i setup a email on my own domain using gmail as the client that downloaded my @ihug emails and flagged them, slowly i switched anything using that account to my new account (can be achieved by just using gmail account or hotmail etc without your own domain)

this took about 6 months to a year.

im trying to get the rest of the people in my family to do the same, which they recently have been. the @ihug account is costing $10 a month i believe for 5 email addresses, and our ISP is snap.

everyone should be encouraged to stop using a ISP for your email, i know you cant do it cold turkey, but you can do it other the course of a year or so.


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  Reply # 617856 1-May-2012 11:47 Send private message

No.

You asked, I answered... I think given the barriers (which others have touched on, and MANY more) it's just not feasible to do this.

I too wince when I see plumbers vans with '[email protected]' on the side of it, but trying to do 'email portability' is just reinforcing a short sighted and deeply flawed behaviour.

The best way to solve this for people that care is to do it themselves. There's a one time hit (with LOTS of ways to mitigate the impact) that will leave people with a far better outcome.

Cheers - N

Disclaimer - I work for Telecom. It's right there, to the left of the post, but sometimes I feel the need to point it out, lest I be accused of just being a shill, for 'the man' :-)

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  Reply # 617857 1-May-2012 11:50 Send private message

Yeah, it seems like a really big deal until you do it and realise that it's not.

Use a gmail/hotmail/whatever address. Problem solved.

The effort involved to offer the solution far outweights the problem itself.

In effect: please break what is effectively a perfectly organic system (DNS/mail routing) by introducing a regulated (by who, how) layer to help out a small set of people with an issue that isn't really a big deal?





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  Reply # 617858 1-May-2012 11:51 Send private message

No. If someone wants an email address that they can use no matter with ISP they want, then they should buy a domain, which is cheap. An ISP email address is owned by that ISP as it is their domain, and they are hosting the email. To make it portable would require all the ISP email addresses to be hosted by some central system, which would be an additional cost. What happens if an ISP goes out of business, then the domain would also be cancelled at some stage, affecting those email users. Perhaps everyone having a central NZ email address administered by a government system would be a better solution, but I doubt they would have the money to set that up, and there are free solutions out there.

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  Reply # 617860 1-May-2012 11:54 Send private message

coffeebaron:
SaltyNZ:Also what would you expect to happen to messages stored on the donor ISP(s) servers? Moved/copied? Accessed by some automagical remote connection so that they look local to the recipient ISP?

These would either
1. be forwarded by old ISP to the customers new email address
2. stored as an existing mailbox at the old ISP (optional small cost charged by old ISP)


- DO they forward all, or only after spam filters? How does the customer figure out spam issues if the first ISP filters first?
- Does the original ISP now allow access to their servers from IP addresses from other ISPs? Just NZ ones? All, just ISPs with transferred emails?
- When there's an email problem, who does the customer call, their new ISP, their old ISP?
- What if the customer does this several times, and always chooses the free redirect option? You could have email going between 4-5 ISPs! Who now is responsible for tracking down email issues?
- What about where an ISP outsources their email handling? Does that external (and possibly international) partner now need to be governed by NZ regulation for email forwarding?
- What about sending email? The new ISP won't be allowed to impersonate the original ISP domain name, so either the mail has to be sent through the original ISP, or the new ISPs need special config to send it back to the original ISP first for sending.

There are other issues too... None of these are impossible to solve - I just suspect no-one would actually be prepared to pay what it costs.

Cheers - N


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  Reply # 617867 1-May-2012 12:13 Send private message

Can't say I personally really see a need for it given:

* The good free email providers already out there (gmail\hotmail\yahoo\etc)
* How relatively easy and painless it is to register a domain yourself and use that

TBH I don't even see much need for ISPs to provide email services; perhaps they could just provide instructions for signing up to one of the many good free services - that would get around your average Joe getting "locked in" to using the ISP email service.


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  Reply # 617872 1-May-2012 12:26 Send private message

SteveON: Crazy idea - Totally doable but phone numbers you pay for but email is generally a free service. No-one pays to receive or send an email.


Completely agree. 

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  Reply # 617873 1-May-2012 12:30 Send private message

No need at all given gmail, hotmail, yahoo provide free ISP independent accounts.

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  Reply # 617881 1-May-2012 12:49 Send private message

Its certainly an interesting idea. And it clearly has technical hurdles to wrinkle out, as Talkeit has outlined.

Its easy for us geeks to say that its unnecessary, that setting up a domain or free email is easy enough (i have a domain under our family name, and am trying to switch the family over to it at present).
But saying that is ignoring the fact that hundreds of thousands (complete BS estimate, but probably true) dont understand this when they get '[email protected]' and screenprint it on the side of 10 vans. A lack of email portability (in the sense that the OP means) is a major limitation to competition in the ISP market, with a strong bias towards the incumbents.

Few of the 'joetheplumbers' are ever going to change ISP as long as they are in business under that name, and are likely to stick with mobile & phone solutions with the same provider for the duration. Xtra (Telecom), Paradise or Clear (Telstra), Ihug (Vodafone) are the only winners.

Not saying that we definitely should have email portability, but I think its foolish to deny the problem

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