TELSTRA is to scrap a popular cut-price email service, leaving about 250,000 customers, including rural users and small businesses, without an email address and access that was charged at the cost of a local phone call.
Telstra's "easymail" service, launched in late 1998 as a "Christmas gift to all Australians", will be shut down on March 13.
Telstra is instead urging the low-income and small business users to sign up for its new $5.95-a-month internet plan on the BigPond internet service.
The shutdown comes as Telstra tries to resurrect a flagging share price through price hikes and new fees across all its product lines of mobile, fixed line phones and the internet.
The easymail shutdown also reflects Telstra's push to abandon services that it considers aren't making enough money.
In an email to its easymail users warning of the closure, Telstra says: "Your easymail address will be deactivated from March 13, 2002. It is not possible to keep this address or transfer it to another service. We are unable to forward your emails to your new email address."
The notification added that after a review, Telstra "identified that the easymail service is not commercially viable and existing technology is no longer sustainable".
"We recognise that withdrawing the easymail service may cause some customers inconvenience," Telstra said.
Yesterday, small business owners complained that Telstra was refusing to offer a forwarding service after the closure of their easymail addresses. Many customers said they would lose business because Telstra has only given them three weeks' notice to change their details.
"I'm so irate," said Adele Coutts, a bed and breakfast operator in the holiday area of the Grampians in Victoria.
"I rely on the email a lot and have advertised my email in international publications that are in circulation for five years."
Other easymail users said while the service was limited it offered only email access and no internet surfing it was cheapest they could find.
Labor communications spokesman Lindsay Tanner yesterday called on Telstra to review its decision immediately "and to start acting in the interests of its majority shareholder the Australian public".
He said easymail has been invaluable for people who could not afford internet access, namely low-income earners, job-seekers and people living in rural and regional areas.
The easymail closure will infuriate rural users and is likely to trigger calls from lobby groups.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.
Originally posted by laminge I still say yoy pay for what you get, also, in this day an age of 1000's of ISps., why wouldnt you have a net connection anyhows
maybe some people do not want net access for whatever reasons (kids, temptation to waste time, etc) but they need email. it's a really wise move for telstra - they are just going to piss off more people!
'unable to forward your emails' my arse. More like, don't want to! Forwarding is dog easy at the SMTP server level, what Telstra are avoiding is paying traffic for email that enter their networks and are then forwarded back out to non-Telstra email addresses. Telstra are so amazingly inept for such a large company.
The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for a life. - Andrew Brown
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