My first use of the internet was when I started university in 1988. We were all allocated an email address, but it was mostly used for sending around messages between ourselves, and gaining access to the mainframes that we conducted most of our work on. At least until I discovered the joy of news groups (this was pre websites kids!).
Sometime around 1996 I started a Demon subscription, with a personal email and some of my own webspace. But at the time I took the subscription out, I didn’t actually own a computer (indeed, for a short time before that, I’d also paid for Compuserve without actually owning a computer). I was using work computers out of hours access the internet. I think my first internet connected PC – a Gateway desktop was around 1997/8. I was on dial-up initially – 9,600, 14.4 and later 56k, with US Robotics modems.
Later I upgraded to ADSL. Speeds increased, and I was largely satisfied.
All the time I had that Demon account, although in due course I bought my own domain and transitioned all my email to that. However, email to my Demon domain would still make it through. Demon wasn’t the cheapest, but the service was good. But the company itself was changing hands pretty fast, and is now owned by Vodafone.
I finally closed my Demon account in August 2013. Fibre wasn’t coming any time soon, the current owners had seemed to have lost interest in developing it, and the BT Broadband with free BT Sport offer was too good to miss. But despite that transition, my Demon email account continued to work. I had Gmail poll it for any email that was still coming through to it. Yes – it was mostly spam, but there were emails from Arsenal and the New Scientist that were still making it through, and there was the possibility that someone I’d lost touch with still had that old email address. I wasn’t paying for this service, and the email domain still worked.
Sadly, this has now come to an end. A month ago, Vodafone announced they were finally removing Demon email services. They did provide details of a service that would let me continue to use the email account. But there’s no reason to pay for that service.
Over the last few days, Gmail has alerted me to the fact that my account no longer worked, and today, around 20 years after I first opened an account, I finally bit the bullet.