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NTL's Problems With The E-mail Service Explained

# 3 August 2004, 11:03 by Cable Forum

Last week, we decided to contact chief executive of ntl, Simon Duffy, he has been in touch with us and explained in depth what’s really wrong with the e-mail service and what ntl are doing about it.

Simon Duffy, explains, “We recently upgraded to the latest Openwave email platform at a cost of several million pounds. Openwave is the number one email platform worldwide, so there should be no problem with it. However, the (new) hardware on which it is running is not working properly. We are working with the hardware provider, who is one of the leading server providers worldwide, to fix it.”

Simon goes on to explain more about the actual problem, “The hardware we have purchased is not proving to be as functionally capable in the email storage area as we had been led to believe. This results in the hardware freezing and giving the appearance that the mail service is down. We are working flat out to resolve this with the supplier and, if this was the only problem, I think we would have it resolved in the near future. However, it has been compounded by a second issue – the explosion in mail traffic in the last 8 months – which has caught the whole industry out, including ourselves. When we embarked on the email platform upgrade late last year, we specified our hardware solution to cope with traffic levels that were being predicted for the next three years, both by ourselves based on past experience and by industry analysts. These predictions have been proved totally wrong. Instead we have seen email volumes, driven by spam and viruses, which have overwhelmed our platform. We suffered more than most because we were in the middle of a migration when the explosion hit – an example of Murphy’s law with a vengeance.”

“It is, to put it mildly, very unfortunate that the migration of our customer base from the old to the new software has been partly derailed by these issues. However, I do want you to know that we are doing all we can to resolve it as soon as possible. We are currently reworking the whole hardware solution with the probability of spending double what we first intended. We are also taking advantage of two new products that have just come to market – one which allows customers to manage their spam mail before it gets into their mailbox and another which provides a comprehensive anti-virus capability. As a result of all this, the migration to the new platform has been delayed, which means that most of our customers are still on the old platform, which is struggling to deal with the load. However, we should have the great majority of our customers migrated to the new platform by the middle of nextmonth, with the rest following in the autumn.”

So this may reassure customers that ntl are very much aware of the problems with the email service and are doing as much as they can to fix the issues.

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