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Old 4 May 2003, 04:58 AM   #16
teacher
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Freeserve started as a dial up connection where you had to pay for the phone call, it still has that feature. As the emails and the internet have to be accessed via the phone in those days and many of us still have to use this method in the UK, I would call that a free service.

I really like Freeserve and I believe that it has given me good service over the years. I wonder why it is still the number one ISP in the UK?
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Old 4 May 2003, 05:02 AM   #17
robert@fm
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Quote:
Originally posted by teacher
Freeserve started as a dial up connection where you had to pay for the phone call, it still has that feature. As the emails and the internet have to be accessed via the phone in those days and many of us still have to use this method in the UK, I would call that a free service.
But you have to pay for the phone call, so it's not free...

In my experience, Freeserve worked out a lot more expensive than a monthly-subscription service would have...
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Old 4 May 2003, 09:54 AM   #18
av1998
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If my memory serves me correctly, I am going to say Hotmail started this free webmail insanity. Rocketmail showed up shortly and Yahoo mail not too long after that.

It is due to Hotmail's age that they can always claim to be the most popular email service in existence. However, the level of their service had been deteriorating ever since MS bought over.
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Old 4 May 2003, 05:41 PM   #19
teacher
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Quote:
Originally posted by robert@fm
But you have to pay for the phone call, so it's not free...

In my experience, Freeserve worked out a lot more expensive than a monthly-subscription service would have...
But if you have to pay for a monthly subscription that is not free either.
I think the question is what constitutes FREE? Let's face it, no matter how we gain access to the internet, it's not going to be free. Whether it be Hotmail, Yahoo, Mail2World , AOL and even Freeserve, none are free under that criteria .
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Old 4 May 2003, 06:11 PM   #20
SanjaySheth
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I think the various freenets have been around since early 1990/1991. They started off with free shell accounts for accessing email and usenet.

Here's a list (circa December '93) which shows the large # of freenets already operating by that time: http://archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Edu/ICG...tml#freenets11

I think I signed up for my first "Internet" account with the Prarienet back in 1990.
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Old 5 May 2003, 03:13 PM   #21
Empath
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Hotmail was the first free webmail service I ran across. Netforward was the first free email forwarding service I used. It looks like Netforward did follow Hotmail by a couple of months.
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 08:29 AM   #22
Abonar
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Ok sorry for digging up an old thread, but just looking to put a bit of history right.
The first free email service in the UK (although not a full webmail solution) was launched by Pobox.co.uk.

The service was offering free email address in early 1993 when I joined them as a founding member of the management team.

The WHOIS registry shows 1st of August 1996 but that is true for most domains registered in the UK before that date (http://pre-nominet.com/). That is the day Nominet came into existence and took back the once free, never expiring domains, and rented them back to the then owners.
Unfortunately the wayback archive only started indexing anything late in 1996 too: https://web.archive.org/web/19961222...w.pobox.co.uk/

On the subject of freeserve.co.uk I am fairly confident again, that we offered the first free dialup internet service available at a local rate http://www.freedomlist.com/find.php3?plan=281, it was also completely anonymous, a complete no-no today.

Sadly the service once promised as free for life (as in free beer), appears to be being withdrawn later in 2016. End of an era, and the reason for my nostalgia and finding posts such as this one.

Just for posterity the first generally accessible, real internet service in the UK was Demon and that predated Pobox by about a year, they launched in 1992.
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Old 7 Feb 2016, 07:42 PM   #23
jdtaylor
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I've just checked altern.org and there is nothing about email.

Hotmail was what is now called Outlook.com
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Old 7 Feb 2016, 10:40 PM   #24
Dutchie007
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Personaly I think AOL's email was earlier then Hotmail...way earlier.

http://time.com/3857628/aol-1985-history/

"By 1993, AOL introduced its own email addresses, a Windows version and access to the rest of the Internet for its users."

Correct me if I'm wrong..

D
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Old 7 Feb 2016, 10:57 PM   #25
kaptitsky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchie007 View Post
Personaly I think AOL's email was earlier then Hotmail...way earlier.

Correct me if I'm wrong..

D
AOL wasn't free back then, not by a long shot. It was basically a dialup service provider with a dedicated client -- all those free disks!.-- that gave a Windows front end to the kinds of thing Compuserve, Genie and BBS provided though regular old ASCII terminal software.

When AOL started offering gateways to the internet, like Gopher, Usenet and eventually email interconnectivity, there was a roar from the old hands who had created and enforced netiquette.

Originally, AOL wasn't even flat priced, it was pay by time, so people who loved to chat got big bills.

AOL may have expanded the e-mail population, but it wasn't a free e-mail provider until their dial-up business was eaten away by real ISP.

Now, Juno, which got started in 1996 was real, ad-supported e-mail. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_Online_Services

But that's around the time of Hotmail, not earlier.

Could you count bulletin board systems (BBS) systems as the first free e-mail providers? They date easily into the 1970s and 1980s....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletin_board_system
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Old 9 Feb 2016, 09:24 AM   #26
chrisretusn
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Agree with kaptitsky, I never had an AOL account but I did have a CompuServe account, it was not free. It was by the hour. I did most of what I needed to do off-line. After connecting, the client took care of the sending, receiving with little user intervention. This reduced the amount of time on-line. I am pretty sure CompuServe had email in the late seventies. I still have some some of those shareware (back when it was really shareware) programs that automated interaction with BBS's and other services to optimize on-line time. compared to today's bandwidth, snails were speedy compared to bandwidth available back then. On a whim I checked my files, I was a bit surprised that I still have CompuServe bills on file. LOL. Perhaps it's time to toss them.
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Old 1 Nov 2017, 01:15 PM   #27
Qhenry
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In 1984 I had Compuserve email
In 1991 I had aol.com email

Paid services, but yes, email, and internet... Such that it was.
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Old 1 Nov 2017, 02:52 PM   #28
jeffpan
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Representative of:
Mail.dnsbed.com
in 1980 or about year, my father printed a mail with printer and mailed it to the people. I think this was mostly the first e-mail in China given "e" means Electronic.
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Old 2 Nov 2017, 11:16 PM   #29
Jason Mick
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Not the oldest, but yet still worth mentioning two of the providers which are not mainstream but provides feature-rich platforms for emails and collaboration.
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Old 3 Nov 2017, 03:22 AM   #30
janusz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Mick View Post
[Fastmail.com[/url] | 1994-12-09 as per whois query.
Wake up man, Fastmail hasn't been free for a good few years.
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