For the past 15 years or so we have been using Easynet (part of the Sky empire) for a range of internet services, including acting as out SMTP outgoing mail server. Yesterday the service stopped working. We phoned the help desk and they said that because we did not use them as an ISP and do not have an Easynet IP address (as readers will know, our location means we have to use a satellite link and in fact we've been using Easynet SMTP without an Easynet IP address for the past 5 years) we should have never been able to use the SMTP service.

When I pointed out the illogicality of this, the help desk operative had no explanation – however he did say they had been receiving a lot of similar complaints over the past day. I then suggested that if so many customers had the same problem, then clearly Easynet must have changed something over the  past 24 hours that has caused us all to be cut off. He simply repeated his mantra that because I didn't have an Easynet IP address I could not receive the service. I then asked him to explain how come I had been receiving for the SMTP service for the past 5 years? And he repeated his mantra that I couldn't have been receiving it.

I then asked to speak to a supervisor and was told there were non-available. I then asked if this meant the Easynet help desk/support line couldn't explain what was happening? And he once again repeated his little dogma – all of which raises the interesting questions: do Easynet have any clue what is happening? And has anyone at Easynet ever had the concept of customer service explained to them?

Update: so anyway that service that Easynet said I hadn't been using for the past 5 years – which is which is why it only stopped working 36 hours ago – is back working again. I'd like to say it was the power of the media what did it but I suspect it was several thousand other customers like me bombarding the company with complaints that swung it. However, I'm still left with the mystery of: if Easynet haven't been sending my emails via their SMTP servers over the past 5 years, who has? Some of the Sky empire's elves, maybe?

Postscript: Easynet has now been in touch to explain what the issue was…

In response to your post on www.theorangerag.com – “Easynet say “No, we don't know either”. There has been some confusion around the problem that you experienced yesterday with your email. Whilst the engineer was correct we do advise customers using a non Easynet IP address to use the SMTP server of the ISP they are connected to, there is a mechanism in place to allow this based on your authentication and IP address.
 
When you send and receive mail, mail clients will (as a rule of thumb) receive first. This then authenticates your login on the POP3 server which then makes a note of the IP address you are connecting from. This IP is then stored in a database for a set amount of time allowing you to send from smtp.easynet.co.uk. (pop-before-smtp)
 
The problem arose from an incident with one of our smarthosts and was limited as a security measure to only accept connections from Easynet IP addresses. The pop-before-smtp was corrected at around 3PM yesterday afternoon. Please accept my apologies for the unacceptable service you received and the disruption caused as a result.
 
Kind regards
 

Business Support Team Leader