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Virgin to migrate customers onto Google Mail

In a staged rollout, the ISP will move its millions of customers onto Google's popular webmail service
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Virgin Media is to move all its home broadband customers onto the Google Mail platform, the company said on Wednesday.

According to the internet service provider, the webmail rollout will extend to all of its four million home broadband customers, but there will be a delay before it reaches everybody. While the customers will be moved off Virgin Media's existing email platform, they will be able to retain their existing email addresses.

The company said the rollout will be one of the largest deployments to date of Google Partner Edition Apps, which lets businesses and individual customers use Google's communication and collaboration applications under their own domain names.

"New customers signing up will get it now and we will start to roll it out to all our customers but it will take time for everyone to get it," a spokesperson for Virgin Media told ZDNet UK.

The service, which will provide each user with 7GB of email storage, will be piloted by the first 20,000 new customers, Virgin Media said in a statement. The full launch to all new customers will follow "shortly", the company said, after which existing customers will be migrated across to the new service. They will be able to keep their existing @blueyonder.co.uk, @ntlworld.com or @virgin.net email addresses, or sign up for new @virginmedia.com email addresses.

Although business users will have the same access, the spokesperson stressed that the launch today was aimed mainly at the consumer sector. "Business users will of course have access if they want it, but we have different services for them," the spokesperson said.

In October last year, Virgin Media's email service was knocked out of action for two days by a suspected spam attack on the ISP's email supplier, Tucows. At the time, Elliot Noss, president and chief executive of Tucows, apologised to Virgin Media and other customers, saying his company would be making changes to its "monitoring, change management, emergency protocols and procedures and operating efficiencies".

Google's webmail service is known as Google Mail in the UK and Germany, and Gmail in the rest of the world.

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