In today's world, many individuals and businesses depend just as heavily on their email addresses as on their phone numbers and physical addresses with regards to their public points of contact with the larger world. One's email address is a key component of the small matrix of characteristics which forms one’s public identity: name, address, phone number, and email address. This is how the world knows who we are and how to contact us and therefore the loss or change of an email address could be a major setback.
Consequently, in order to retain the email address, in the absence of a mechanism to migrate email addresses, individuals and businesses who obtain an email account from their ISP are forced to remain with their existing ISP, or to pay for the retention of a stand alone email account, thus creating a barrier to change ISP.
The Regulatory Authority (RA) is proposing to include new provisions to the effect that undertakings providing electronic communications services, that also provide electronic mail services shall, upon termination by a subscriber of the electronic communication service, if that subscriber also enjoys an electronic mail service from that service provider, upon request by the subscriber, the service provider would forward all email messages received by that subscriber, free of charge to an email address of the subscriber’s choice for a period of six months.
It is recognised that there are no technical barriers that prevent the emails sent to the original email address to be automatically forwarded to the subscriber’s new email address. This measure would guarantee the continuation of email service, to both subscribers and the business community.
This consultation invites input from interested parties on such legal measures and a possible technical solution that would operate as follows:
- Forwarding of all email messages, upon request by the subscriber, free of charge to the subscriber’s new mailbox, for a period of six months, following the switch of the subscriber from the original ISP to the new ISP, in accordance with the planned new legal provision;
- Provide the option to subscribers to extend the initial period of 6 months for an indefinite period, against a charge;
- Issue an automated notification message, informing the sender that the recipient has migrated to an alternative email account. This message should also include details of recipient’s new email address; and
- Retain the email address ‘unused’ for a minimum period of one year following the migration of the subscriber to the new ISP.