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Broadband ISP BT to Scrap Email and Cloud for New Customers

Friday, June 17th, 2022 (12:56 pm) - Score 11,256
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New broadband and mobile customers of UK ISP BT will, from the end of this month, no longer be able to benefit from the operator’s included Email and online Cloud storage features. The good news is that existing customers will be unaffected, at least for now.

The change flows from BT’s announcement in April (here), which revealed that, over time, they intend to turn EE into the “flagship brand for our consumer customers” (i.e. converged broadband and mobile plans). As part of that, the operator has been busy reviewing what this means for their products and services.

Admittedly, we’re surprised that BT’s Email platform has lasted this long, since these days very few broadband ISPs either advertise or even include it alongside their packages – partly because Freemail services (Hotmail, Gmail etc.) have reduced their importance, and they’re often seen as more trouble than they’re worth to maintain. Similarly, there’s a fair bit of choice to be found when it comes to Cloud storage (Mega, MediaFire, Dropbox etc.), although not all of them provide a free option.

So far as we can tell, the change will be introduced from 1st July 2022, but it will only impact new customers who take out a package on or after that date. BT has told ISPreview.co.uk that they will continue to support existing customers, although subscribers some may perceive this decision as being the first step toward an eventual retirement (removing access for new customers is often a precursor for that).

On the other hand, history tends to show that big ISPs often continue to maintain email for years after they stop making it available to new customers. However, the same can not necessarily be said for the niche feature of online cloud storage.

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31 Responses
  1. Peter F says:

    So will the price drop? Probably not but still.

  2. Jamie Simms says:

    Still no sign of BT releasing the Smart Hub 3 so that customers can fully benefit from their new Full Fibre connections.

    It seems strange that they have a such a push on getting people to upgrade but they are slow to release a Wi-Fi 6 router to fully support the new speeds.

    1. Skinny Pete says:

      TBF Wi-Fi 5 can easily provide 500+ Mbps, Wi-Fi 6 is only a must for those on Gigabit speeds. Though in the past I’ve managed to get ~ 800 Mbps over Wi-Fi 5 using a 4×4 router and a 4×4 client.

    2. Jack says:

      It might well be connected to how rubbish their Whole Home 6 WiFi discs are.

    3. James says:

      This is why I offer a service for installing better wifi equipment in the home, then you are not reliant on the ISPs stuff!

    4. Doomu5 says:

      In general, ISP provided network gear is lowest common denominator trash which you only use if you can’t afford your own solution. Relying on your ISP for hardware is never wise.

  3. Gary H says:

    Easiest way to offload the Data security,Scamming, Phishing and copyright/censorship issues and responsibilities, especially if the services aren’t deemed to actually influence ISP choice.

  4. Brian says:

    From having BT a number of years ago, I always found the cloud service served to remind you that they could only provide a slow ADSL service, that was far too slow to make it useable.

  5. Anon says:

    I work for a company whose name rhymes with when. Email support issues were one of the biggest call drivers and most time consuming type of issue to deal with so I’m not surprised more are dropping the option email addresses. In addition, I’ve had my email address since 2004. I couldn’t imagine changing it every time I changed provider.

  6. BB says:

    Cloud storage was one of the selling points for me with BT. It justified me upping my package as the cost of the upgrade could be mitigated by cancelling the backup subscription I had elsewhere and just using BT and an external drive. If they eventually remove it for everyone, I shall simply switch to another ISP.

    1. Paul says:

      Same here!!

    2. Damian Dixon says:

      Same here. 1 terabyte of cloud storage is not cheap.

      I would not mind losing the antivirus and password manager as I’m not using either. I would not have chosen either of the solutions from experience of using them in the past.

      I don’t use thier email. Yes I’ve an account but nothing gets sent to it.

      If they do drop them then I’d want to see a corresponding drop in cost to myself for broadband.

      TBH when my contract comes up for renewal I’ll be asking for a reduction due to not using the antivirus and password manager. Probably not get anywhere but you never know.

    3. Damian Dixon says:

      2TB cloud storage costs £80 a year from Google. They don’t have a 1TB tier for Google One.

      I think I might look at seeing how much BT will drop thier price.

    4. Ad47uk says:

      @Damian Dixon, I don’t think there are any other ISP that provides a cloud service and very few provide email services these days. With so many free ones out there, it is not a huge problem. Granted, you can’t as far as I know get 1TB of cloud storage free unless you use a few of them. The only one I have found that is free and offers 1TB is TeraBox. Microsft have their Microsoft 365 Personal for £59.99, gives you 1TB of storage, plus MS Office, so that is not a bad deal if you use Windows or Mac.
      i don’t do this cloud storage myself to be honest.

      As for BT-Wifi, i wonder how many people have their routers in a place where the signal is strong enough to get outside their property as a decent strength? Using my phone as my computer don’t have Wi-fi,. I see 2 BT wi-fi signals, but they are very weak and one of them is my next door neighbour, even going outside it is not that great.

      4G is not bad here to be honest, even being in a small city, out in the stick granted it does get a bit iffy, but then the chances of going past someone with BT- Wi-fi is pretty slim. While Bt is still a large company, there is a lot of people who have dropped B.T.
      if you want BT Wi-fi to try and offset the cost of BT broadband, then maybe you should think about going for a lower price provider and also get a better mobile network provider.

      i have plusnet for broadband at the moment and I use smarty for my mobile network, both lower price networks and both works well.

  7. S says:

    Blimey. I remember when it was all part of the service, along with newsgroup access and server space for your personal homepage.

    ISP email addresses used to be considered more credible than the free alternative and that’s probably why I’ve had the same one since 1997.

    As someone who’s worked for an ISP I can confirm that they’re a nightmare for support issues and fear of brand damage if they’re hacked. Also, older, less tech savvy people tend to need the support. BT have understandably decided it’s not worth the hassle.

  8. Doomu5 says:

    And nothing of value was lost that day.

  9. Anonymous says:

    they need to make a push on there full fibre to the premises more than all of this as there speeds am getting to my house are ok but still shocking at the same time when the normal house as a few devices connected at once these days and only getting 34mb down and only 6mb upload

  10. Adrian KEEBLE says:

    If they remove cloud service for existing customers then I’ll be leaving for sure. I am not a big fan of EE either so I shall start looking round for alternatives.

    1. Ad47uk says:

      EE is Bt, just like plusnet is. I have been using plusnet for a fair few years now, it is pretty good to be honest for the price I pay, I was a bit hesitant in joining them at first, because of belonging to B.T, but for the most part it has been fine, even when I did have a problem, they got Openreach onto it pretty quickly and then when Open reach could not sort it out, Plusnet sent me a nice Zyxel router to see if that would sort the problem out. Sadly, it did not, so I had to put an old Huawei modem in place that I got from Ebay to get a stable sync. It was the only thing that would keep a stable sync, I found this out when I thought my old ECI modem went belly up, so I borrowed my neighbour’s Huawei, which they did not use any more, phoned plusnet, and they sent me a hub one and that did not work. So it was a few weeks of open reach trying to sort out the problem. They could not, so plusnet sent me the Zyxel to see if that would work, it did for a couple of weeks, in the end I got the Huawei from Ebay and connected the Zyxel via Wan to it.

      That was a couple of years ago, then for some reason about 7 months ago I thought i would try to see if the fault was sorted, and it is, the zyxel worked and the hub one worked fine, but sadly my old ECI modem don’t, so I don’t know if the fault damaged that or the modem caused the original fault.

      It was a strange fault as even open reach own equipment would not sync in the house or at the cabinet and yet a Huawei modem would. Confused the hell out of the three Open reach engineers I had here, the last one said, just keep to how i had it using the modem.

      I presume what ever the fault was, eventually got sorted, but when I don’t know.

      Anyway, after a long post, just to say that plusnet was pretty good and tried all ways to get the problem sorted.

  11. Ad47uk says:

    I thought they stopped the cloud thing years ago, no great lost I am sure, plenty of options out there that are free. I have not had an email address linked to a ISP for years, granted I still have my old AOL one, that changed into a free one linked to the AOL portal when I left and since AOL don’t exist as a ISP in the UK any more. I don’t use it, I have a peak at it now and again and that is it. I have a domain and a email address linked to that.

    If BT decides in the future to get rid of email altogether, even for existing customers, then it is going to affect a fair few people.

  12. ShadyCreek says:

    This is a very sensible step and avoids less tech savvy customers realising at some point in the future they are somewhat trapped to a single ISP. It has never been a good idea to tether yourself to an ISPs email service. I personally have never used the BT cloud storage and I suspect few people do. Certainly those with either an iCloud account or an Office 365 license wouldn’t need to bother with it.

  13. Joe McNamara says:

    This happened in Ireland with Eir, formerly the state owned ISP that was privatised. Many people had Eir email addresses, some for almost 20 years, but were told they’d have to pay a charge of €5.99 per month to continue to have access to the service otherwise the email address would be deleted. A year later the charge was bumped to €9.99 per month. Needless to say it caused a mass exodus which I would assume was their intention.

    1. John O'Dwyer says:

      EUR is expensive anyway with and they have little competition. It has been sold a it 4 or 5 times since the state sold it. It has been making a loss for years. Every Tom, Dick and Harry including bought shares in the then Eircom. I still own Vodafone shares.

  14. Mml says:

    The only thing I’m worried about is BT Wi-Fi. Waiting to see if they will scrap that when they rebrand domestic BT to EE.

    1. Ad47uk says:

      why are you worried about it? Best thing to do is to scrap it, with the price of mobile data these days is it really worth bothering with?
      I remember when I had BT many years ago, and it BT wi-fi was called fon or something like that, flipping useless it really was. Sure there are more people with Bt now i suppose, and the routers are better, but I still can’t see it being that useful.

    2. Damian Dixon says:

      BT WiFi is useful if you are in an area where 4G is very very slow. Which is pretty much anywhere rural or congested.

      It also keeps my mobile costs very small. Which offsets the cost of broadband from BT.

  15. Alex E says:

    I have avoided ISP email services for well over a decade. Having an ISP email address makes switching to another provider much trickier and with the new alt-nets this is even more the case.

    Using something like Gmail means you can change ISP whenever you choose to, although personally I use a paid for email provider but that’s another discussion.

    Go through the pain now of gradually moving to an email provider away from your ISP, you will have to do it eventually anyway.

  16. Laurence 'GreenReaper' Parry says:

    Guess it’s a good thing I’m ordering it before then! Hopefully it’s included even though the start date will be afterwards.

    The email I could care less about, but the cloud storage is a non-trivial benefit, especially as it appears links can be shared (good for convention photos).

    1. NE555 says:

      Make sure it’s mentioned in the T&Cs you signed then. If it isn’t, you may not get it (and might choose to cancel your order instead)

  17. Jazzy says:

    Like most people I have a @gmail account with my name before it

    Use to have a freeserve email account for donkeys in the early days of the internet and now only use @gmail

    People name call Google but their email is free, easy to use and can be used on multiple devices simultaneously

    1. Ad47uk says:

      I have a gmail account as it is part of the Google account I need for my phone, but I never use it. I peak at it now and again to see if there is anything on it, but thankfully there is not,.
      I think there are around 6-7 emails in my inbox, and they are all from Google.

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